IOWA CITY, IA — Stephen A Wynn has made a $25 million gift commitment to the University of Iowa to support the UI’s Institute for Vision Research (video of ceremony, announcement video). The gift, which was announced at today’s meeting of the State Board of Regents in Ames, will be used to accelerate progress toward cures for rare, inherited retinal diseases.
“As a person who knows first hand what it is like to lose vision from a rare inherited eye disease, I want to do everything I can to help others who are similarly affected keep the vision they have and eventually get back what they have lost” said Wynn, chairman and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts, Limited. “ I am thrilled by the pace of the scientific progress that has occurred in the past few years and I feel that the prospect of finding a cure is probable and possible in the short term and certain in the long term” he added. “The army of clinicians and scientists at Iowa’s Institute for Vision Research have uncovered many of the secrets of the genome and are now on the cusp of applying them in the clinic. I never dreamed that I would witness such breakthroughs in my lifetime but the breakthroughs are now at hand,” Wynn said.
“Philanthropic support is very important to all aspects of academic medicine, but it is absolutely essential for developing treatments for ‘orphan’ disorders that occur in a few hundred people or less in the entire country,” said Dr. Edwin Stone, the Seamans-Hauser Chair of Molecular Ophthalmology and director of the Institute for Vision Research. “Mr. Wynn’s generous gift will also help us maintain the very valuable collaborative relationships we have developed with other vision scientists around the world,” Stone added.
“As a public research university working to solve some of society’s greatest health and medical challenges, private support is critical to our success,” said Sally Mason, President of the University of Iowa. “This transformational gift from Stephen Wynn will help accelerate the IVR’s vision to eradicate blindness, and provide hope and treatments for those suffering from eye diseases today,” she added.
Mr. Wynn said, “my support is given on behalf of the millions of people worldwide who awaken every day to a dark world. I am convinced that through people like my colleague Steven Dezii and IVR scientists like Ed Stone and Budd Tucker, we can find the light again. None of us will rest until the lights are back on for everyone,” he added.