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A family, and a transformative legacy

Medicine@Yale, 2014 - July August


Gift from a ‘steadfast friend’ to fund three professorships at the School of Medicine

Richard S. Sackler, M.D., is no stranger to the School of Medicine. A member of the Dean’s Council and the Yale Cancer Center (YCC) Director’s Advisory Board, Sackler also has a robust track record of philanthropy, which has shaped the School of Medicine in tangible ways.

In 2009, Sackler, along with his wife, Beth, and his brother and sister-in-law, Jonathan Sackler and Mary Corson, joined forces to donate $3 million to establish the Richard Sackler and Jonathan Sackler Professorship in Internal Medicine, held by Thomas J. Lynch Jr., M.D., director of YCC and physician-in-chief at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.

Now, a new commitment by Richard Sackler and his children, Rebecca, Marianna, and David, promises to continue to shape the medical school: in March, Sackler and his children established The Richard Sackler Family Endowment in Medicine. Funded by a gift of stock donated by Sackler in 2009, the Endowment will support three named professorships—one in the Department of Neurobiology, and two in fields yet to be determined.

“The Sackler family’s commitment to advancing science at Yale is impressive and inspiring,” said Robert J. Alpern, M.D., dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine. “Endowed professorships form the core of our tradition of academic distinction and enable us to support the best and brightest researchers and clinicians throughout the school. In a time of decreased federal funding, Richard Sackler has been a steadfast friend of the medical school.”

Sackler, an adjunct professor of genetics at Rockefeller University, earned his B.A. from Columbia College and his M.D. from the New York University School of Medicine, and completed a residency in internal medicine at Hartford Hospital. He is a co-chairman of Stamford, Conn.-based Purdue Pharma and a director of Mundipharma and Napp Pharmaceuticals, both of Cambridge, U.K.

The Sackler family’s philanthropy has benefited institutions around the world, and has touched Yale in a number of ways. Among them, Sackler’s parents, Beverly and Raymond Sackler, M.D., established the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute for the Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences in 2008. Also at Yale, they have supported archeological excavation work and age-related macular degeneration research, and established the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Visiting Professor/Lecturer at the School of Medicine. “My father raised [my brother] Jon and me to believe that philanthropy is an important part of how we should fill our lives,” Richard Sackler said.

Sackler’s daughter Rebecca, a 2012 graduate of Yale College, is continuing the family’s tradition in the sciences as a student at the University of California–Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.