The Smilow name is a familiar one in the medical world. The Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Joel E. and Joan L. Smilow Medical Research Center at the NYU School of Medicine represent two among many instances of medical philanthropy by the family of Joel Smilow, a former chair and CEO of Playtex Products.
In October, Penn became the beneficiary of their generosity, as Joel and his son William Smilow, who serves on the Penn Medicine Cardiovascular Institute Leadership Council, made the largest capital gift to date in the University’s $3.5 billion Making History fundraising campaign. The exact gift amount is undisclosed, but it will support the newly named Smilow Center for Translational Research in the Pereleman School of Medicine, as well as the William Smilow Professorship in cardiovascular medicine and the William Smilow Award for Innovation in Clinical Excellence.
The eight-story Smilow Center, which opened in 2011, is a state-of-the-art building featuring more than 700 laboratory workstations and 180 research bays, situated next to the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine and the Roberts Proton Therapy Center.
“Our scientists in the Smilow Center can train and work as fast and collaboratively as possible with Penn Medicine patient care teams to ensure that patients are able to benefit from scientific advances in areas such as cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease,” said J. Larry Jameson, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine.
“The Smilows are noted for their significant philanthropic works throughout the nation,” added Penn President Amy Gutmann, “and Penn is very proud to be the recipients of their first gift here in Philadelphia.”
Capital gifts support buildings and infrastructure at the University. Prior to this one, the largest such gift in the current campaign was a $25 million donation by Raymond Perelman WEv’40 and his wife, Ruth Perelman, to support the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine.