On Wednesday, the University received a $42 million donation for construction of the Comer Center for Children and Specialty Care. This donation marks both the largest single donation in the Universitys history and the final chapter of Gary Comers South Side philanthropy, totaling $84 million to the University.
That the money has been designated for the construction of a hospital is particularly unique and important. Comer, himself, is not an alumnus of the University, and thus his donation represents not only an investment in a private interest but also a service to the public at large. In his speech after the gift was announced, Comer emphasized that the hospital will serve South Side residents across the entire economic spectrum. The new Comer Center has the potential to serve as both a South Side hospital and a national destination for advanced childrens care.
The scope of the donation extends well beyond the Hospitals. With the prestige of being one of the countrys top pediatric medical centers comes unprecedented publicity for the University community in general, and will no doubt inspire more mega-gifts.
With Randels departure imminent, the donation comes at a particularly pivotal time for the University. Known as a great fundraiser, our Presidents contributions to University developments will be missed. Comers donation, however, creates momentum for the entering President and the future of U of C fundraising.