Community Supports the New Center for Health Sciences

October 28, 2010

TACOMA, Wash. – University of Puget Sound is delighted to have received a total of $650,000 in commitments from three prominent foundations—the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust ($400,000), The Norcliffe Foundation ($150,000), and the Titus-Will Families Foundation ($100,000)—toward the design and construction of a new Center for Health Sciences.

The generous commitments, together with those already made by alumni, parents, friends, corporations, foundations, and associates of Puget Sound, underpin the college’s goal of opening the 42,500-square-foot center in fall 2011. Groundbreaking for the four-level facility at the south end of campus took place in May 2010 and construction is now underway.

“The families, individuals, and organizations that have made these gifts possible have shown their dedication to both the university and Tacoma communities,” said Ronald R. Thomas, president of Puget Sound.  “Their farsighted vision for our shared future will be remembered by our students, faculty, staff, and clinic visitors for decades to come. The Center for Health Sciences will bring new opportunities for interdisciplinary study, research, and clinical work in a combination not seen at any other liberal arts college in the nation.”

The Center for Health Sciences is the centerpiece of Puget Sound's 20-year master plan for campus development and lies at the core of the academic strategic plan. The facility will provide the venue for four current areas of study and research: the undergraduate departments of exercise science and psychology, and graduate programs in occupational and physical therapy. In addition it will house the new interdisciplinary neuroscience program, to be directed by a recently funded endowed chair in that field. The university's occupational and physical therapy clinics, which provide free health care services to more than 300 patients annually, will also operate from the center.

The center, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson of Seattle, will be built to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, using sustainable materials and adhering to stringent environmental guidelines.

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust was created to continue the private philanthropy of Oregon electronics entrepreneur Melvin Jack Murdock, now deceased. Murdock was co-founder and later chairman of the electronic instrumentation company Tektronix Inc., a major employer in Beaverton, Oregon. The trust aims to improve the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest by providing grants and enrichment programs to non-profit organizations that seek to strengthen the region's educational, spiritual, and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. It funds a variety of organizations and has a special interest in private higher education and scientific research.. The trust has supported a succession of Puget Sound projects including the Science Center, Wyatt Hall, and Collins Memorial Library, as well as funding science programs and research grants.

The Norcliffe Foundation is a private, non-profit family foundation established by Paul Pigott, who was president of Pacific Car and Foundry Company (now PACCAR Inc.) until his death in 1961. Pigott was active in the community, with roles including a seat on the board of directors at Stanford Oil of California (Chevron), Washington Mutual Savings, General Insurance Company (Safeco), Boeing, and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, among others. The foundation provides grants that strengthen education, health, social services, civic improvement, religion, culture and the arts, the environment, historic preservation, and youth programs. It provided grant support for the university’s Science Center in 2005, and provides ongoing support through student scholarships facilitated by Independent Colleges of Washington.

The Titus-Will Families Foundation is a nonprofit foundation set up by family members descended from Leon Titus, Sr., who founded the Titus-Will automotive company in 1938, and his partner James W. Will.  The family owners of the company, which runs seven automotive franchises in Western Washington, have contributed generously for many years to the community through the support of dozens of nonprofit organizations.  The foundation participates each year in the United Way Campaign, matching employee contributions dollar for dollar, and in 2006 contributed $500,000, its biggest gift ever, to The Harold E. LeMay Museum in Tacoma. It supports organizations including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Thurston County, Catholic Community Services Meals on Wheels, D.A.R.E., and Habitat for Humanity, among others.

Other individuals and foundations who have generously contributed to the Center for Health Sciences to date include Carl and Renee Behnke, the Ben B. Cheney Foundation, Eric and Hollis Dillon, J.D., Robert and Rebecca Pohlad and the Pohlad Family Foundation, and Guy and Audrey Watanabe.

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