Temple’s School of Medicine to be named for Trustee Lewis Katz, CST ’63
Largest pledge in university history led to honor for Philadelphia entrepreneur and philanthropist
Last fall, Trustee Lewis Katz, CST ’63, surprised the Temple community by announcing a $25 million commitment to the university—the largest-single pledge in Temple’s history.
In May, Katz announced that the funds will support the educational and research mission of Temple’s School of Medicine. In recognition of Katz’s commitment and his lifetime of efforts on behalf of the university, Temple’s Board of Trustees will name the School of Medicine for Katz.
“Lewis Katz represents two cherished Temple traditions: the local student who goes on to achieve great things through hard work and creativity; and the alumnus who gives back to the university, recognizing Temple’s transformative power,” said Temple President Neil D. Theobald.
Katz, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of Science and Technology in 1963, has served on the university’s Board of Trustees since 1998. He is known for his long-time support of student scholarships, athletics, entrepreneurship and medicine.
When he announced his $25 million pledge in November 2013, Katz was being honored by the Fox School of Business as winner of the 2013 Musser Excellence in Leadership Award, the school’s highest honor.
“To me, putting Lewis Katz’s name on Temple’s School of Medicine is about so much more than any one pledge,” said Temple Board of Trustees Chair Patrick J. O’Connor. “This is about a lifetime of engagement, support and advocacy for an institution he loves. I hope that Temple alumni and friends will continue to follow his lead.”
The gift also is consistent with Katz’s commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.
“Lewis Katz could have directed his pledge anywhere, but he chose Temple’s School of Medicine. He understands that there’s something special about medicine, medical education and medical research—the power to dramatically improve people’s lives in Philadelphia and beyond,” said Larry R. Kaiser, dean of the School of Medicine, chief executive officer of the Temple University Health System and senior executive vice president of the health sciences at Temple University.
With a career spanning the fields of law, investment banking and business, Katz is one of the university’s most distinguished alumni. He is former principal owner of the New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association and New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League, and was a former member of the NBA Board of Governors. Katz is a founding partner in the law firm of Katz, Ettin & Levine in Cherry Hill, N.J., majority owner of five radio stations in New Jersey and former chair of Interstate Outdoor Advertising.
In 2012, he and a group of local investors purchased Philadelphia Media Network, which owns The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and philly.com.
Temple’s School of Medicine, one of seven schools in Pennsylvania conferring doctor of medicine degrees, is a leader in patient-centered education, basic and clinical research, and compassionate patient care. The school teaches approximately 720 medical students, 140 graduate students and 500 residents; and employs 471 full-time faculty, 47 part-time faculty, 1,660 volunteer faculty and 869 staff.
The School of Medicine has experienced dramatic growth in the breadth and scope of its research enterprise during the past decade. Several new programs have been in the vanguard of scientific discovery, including the Temple Autoimmunity Center, the Temple Lung Center and the Neurosciences Center. School of Medicine scientists have been responsible for groundbreaking advancements across the scientific spectrum, including cancer biology, cardiovascular and thrombosis research, cell and developmental biology, HIV research, immunology and autoimmunity, neuroscience, pharmacology, pulmonary research and substance-abuse research.
A physical transformation in the school’s research facilities occurred in 2009 with the opening of the Medical Education and Research Building. That $160 million, 480,000-square-foot building is home to more than half of the School of Medicine’s research scientists.
In addition to his philanthropic support of Temple, Katz is director of the Katz Foundation, which supports a variety of charitable, educational and medical causes—including an annual prize and endowed visiting professorship in cardiovascular research at Columbia University Medical School (where he served on the Board of Visitors). Through a $15 million naming gift to the Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University—where he graduated first in his class—Katz helped fund a law school building.