On May 4, Johns Hopkins hosted a celebration honoring the largest benefactor in its history, Sidney Kimmel, for his gift of $150 million to be used for cancer research, patient care and a new patient and family pavilion.
Kimmel earned his billion-dollar fortune as founder and chairman of the Jones Apparel Group and now has pledged to devote it to finding a cure for cancer.
The historic gift, announced in November, was marked at an afternoon ceremony in the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building to officially name the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.
Among those on hand to pay tribute to Kimmel and his commitment to cancer research and patient care were New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, outgoing chairman of the university board of trustees; ABC news correspondent Sam Donaldson; National Cancer Institute director Andrew von Eschenbach; Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening; and Johns Hopkins cancer survivors.
Prior to this donation, Bloomberg, the event's master of ceremonies, ranked as the leading Hopkins benefactor for his $100 million gift to the university in 1998. "Some have asked me how it feels having my gift surpassed by Sidney Kimmel," said Bloomberg before the event. "I can sum it up in one word: wonderful.
"This donation is wonderful for Johns Hopkins, for Maryland and for the battle against cancer everywhere," Bloomberg continued. "No one, to our knowledge, has made a donation on this scale to combat a disease. Sidney Kimmel is not only helping to lead the fight against cancer, he also is raising the bar, challenging each and every one of us to do more." In addition to his gift to Johns Hopkins, Kimmel has donated millions to other cancer programs throughout the nation.
The dedication ceremony was preceded by a Cancer Survivors Day celebration.