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Cancer Center Gets $60 Million Gift

12/13/07
The generous donation from Jane Anne Nohl will support the hematology program at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
By Jon Weiner
From left, Keck School of Medicine Dean Carmen Puliafito, USC Norris patient and Nohl estate trustee Larry Kelly and USC President Steven B. Sample unveil the $60 million gift that will support the new Jane Anne Nohl Division of Hematology and Center for the Study of Blood Diseases.

Photo/Jon Nalick
In one of the largest gifts ever designated to USC, the university has announced a $60 million gift from the estate of Jane Anne Nohl for the USC Division of Hematology and the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. The cancer center is a part of the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

The gift the sixth largest to the university and the largest to the cancer center will support recruitment of seven leading hematology faculty and other critical personnel.

Hematological diseases include malignancies such as leukemia, lymphomas, multiple myelomas and other disorders such as sickle cell diseases, anemia and bleeding and thrombotic problems. The division of hematology falls under the purview of the USC Department of Medicine.

Throughout its 50-year history, the Division of Hematology has been recognized for its outstanding research, patient care and excellence in teaching medical students.

The gift was coordinated by Larry Kelly, a longtime friend of Mrs. Nohl and her estate trustee. The Kelly and Nohl families have a relationship going back nearly 40 years. Mrs. Nohl died earlier this year.

“Because of her compassion and her vision for advancing human health, Jane Anne Nohl has created an extraordinary legacy,” said USC President Steven B. Sample. “Her generous bequest makes it possible for USC to greatly expand its efforts to unlock the mysteries of blood disorders and develop new and better treatments for people with these debilitating illnesses.”

The gift from the Nohl estate will support research in blood disorders as well as recruitment of outstanding physician researchers from around the country.

Specifically, it will re-establish the hematology division as The Jane Anne Nohl Division of Hematology and Center for the Study of Blood Diseases and provide for the recruitment of three distinguished faculty for endowed chairs; the recruitment of three or four new junior faculty; the establishment of two Jane Anne Nohl postdoctoral two-year research fellowships; programmatic and research support; and non-endowed funds to be used for immediate recruitment of faculty.

“The USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the crown jewels of the Keck School of Medicine,” said Dean Carmen A. Puliafito. “We wish to express our profound thanks for this most generous gift and for the promise that it will be used in one of the noblest endeavors: the conquest of cancer.”

Mrs. Nohl chose USC/Norris and the hematology division because of the outstanding care given to Kelly by Don Feinstein (pictured at left), professor of medicine at the Keck School.

As Kelly puts it, “Dr. Feinstein saved my life.”

“When I came to Dr. Feinstein after I became ill, he really did save my life,” Kelly said. “He took a look at me and did some tests. Jane knew I wasn’t feeling well. She saw me after Dr. Feinstein treated me and was amazed. That’s when she decided to direct the majority of her charity to the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center with very specific instructions that she wanted it to go to hematology for research.”

Feinstein received his medical degree from Stanford University. He served his residency at LAC+USC Medical Center as well as a fellowship at New York University. He has been at USC for more than 40 years.

“This gift provides us with tremendous opportunities to significantly increase our faculty in hematology,” Feinstein said. “Because of the resources we now have, we can potentially recruit the best people in the country and dramatically increase the breadth and depth of our research mission.”

In addition to supporting the hematology division, the gift will establish an endowed research fund to be directed by Leslie Weiner, professor of neurology at the Keck School, for research of multiple sclerosis.

Mrs. Nohl and her husband Louis were instrumental in acquiring Southern California land purchases, including the Nohl Ranch near Irvine, where a freeway exit now helps mark their legacy.

After her husband passed away, she continued her philanthropy by donating to many charities around the region.

“The thing about Jane was that she was very caring,” Kelly said. “The first thing she’d say is how is your family. She’s probably the most humorous person I’ve ever met.”

Since 1985, Kelly has run Lawrence Kelly & Associates, a money management firm based in Pasadena.

A 1964 business school graduate of USC, he also spent many years in New York, where he was chair of Webster Management.

“This tremendously generous gift from the estate of Mrs. Nohl will build on a rich academic history within the division of hematology and will position USC/Norris as the premier research institution when it comes to hematological diseases,” said USC/Norris Cancer Director Peter Jones.

“The big thing that Jane wanted and I certainly wanted was obviously to make the cancer center one of the most renowned centers in the country,” Kelly said. “I think by having this endowment, we will really give them the ability to hire the talent. We need a lot more Dr. Feinsteins around.”