The research budget and facilities expand at the KU Medical Center.
Researchers at the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., celebrated the dedication Friday of a year-old building named for the same benefactor whose name is on KU's performing arts center in Lawrence.
The $14.3 million Ernst F. Lied Biomedical Research Building was named in honor of a Las Vegas real estate executive who attended KU for two years in the 1920s. He died in 1980.
In June, the Lied Foundation of Las Vegas provided a $1 million endowment to support biomedical research at KUMC.
The building's atrium was named for Christina M. Hixson, Lied's longtime business partner and the sole trustee of the Lied Foundation.
"Her primary interest is not in buildings or research or programs for themselves, but rather her interest is in people," said Jim Martin, president of the KU Endowment Association, which raises funds for the university.
"Through her vision for higher education -- and for many other worthy programs -- she uses the resources available from the Lied Foundation to make a difference in the lives of people who enjoy fine arts at KU, as well as those whose health or well-being is improved through original research. She's very people-oriented, and that's her goal, to be sure that what she does benefits people."
The building on 39th Street in Kansas City, Kan., with an atrium that has become popular for luncheons and student events, will house parts of an increasingly active research program. In 1983, KUMC researchers were awarded less than $10 million in annual research grants. Last year they received more than $40 million.
"We're a success story in terms of getting money for biomedical research in increasingly competitive times," KUMC representative Randy Atwood said. "We've been increasingly successful in recruiting name researchers from other institutions. This is only going to help us in that cause."
The new building expands the medical center's research space by 30 percent.
The state provided $8.9 million for the new building.
"That was a forward-looking investment." Atwood said. "Research dollars are true economic-development dollars. Otherwise, they wouldn't be here. They'd be somewhere else."
The building is the second at KU to receive support from the Lied Foundation. In 1988, the foundation gave the university $10 million to build a performing arts center in Lawrence, called the Lied Center. The foundation has also pledged $1.5 million for performing arts programs at the Lied Center.