SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Kevin Jackson

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Historic gift starts new chapter in medical research

$200 million marks one of the largest single investments in medical research to a Canadian university

CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/17/14 -- The University of Calgary has the opportunity to lead research breakthroughs into some of the biggest medical challenges of this generation thanks to $200 million in combined support from Geoffrey Cumming and the Government of Alberta.

The Cumming School of Medicine is being named in honour of this extraordinary gift.

The Government of Alberta is committing $100 million in matching funding to further medical research and innovation at the University of Calgary.

International businessman and University of Calgary alumnus Geoffrey Cumming (BA Honours) is donating $100 million to build on the Faculty of Medicine's internationally recognized strengths, particularly in the two priority areas of brain and mental health; and infections, inflammation and chronic diseases. By recruiting outstanding scientists and students, and providing them with the best technology and resources to make medical breakthroughs, Cumming hopes his gift will help improve the health of Albertans and the global community.

"When you go into the labs and spend time with medical researchers, you find incredibly talented individuals," says Cumming. "Bright and driven, they are capable of making important advances into diseases and disorders where we currently have only limited understanding. This gift is about attracting more of the world's best researchers to Alberta and to inspire and challenge them to make significant medical advances of benefit to Alberta and to the whole world."

The combined $200-million investment creates leveraging opportunities so University of Calgary researchers can achieve medical breakthroughs through world-class research. It will provide opportunities for students, researchers and postdoctoral scholars to participate in leading-edge research and train with the best minds. It will also support emerging initiatives in research that may lead to transformative impacts on health; local, national and international outreach; and improved medical and educational support.

"We are so incredibly grateful to Mr. Cumming for his generous gift to the University of Calgary and this province," says Dave Hancock, premier of Alberta and minister of Innovation and Advanced Education. "Our government is proud to be a part of this initiative that builds on the innovative work throughout Campus Alberta and elevates Alberta's position as a global leader in health research. The Cumming School of Medicine will attract top medical students and researchers to Alberta and will make a difference for patients here and around the world."

"The University of Calgary is honoured to be able to work with Geoffrey Cumming and the Government of Alberta to create fundamental advances in medical research," said President Elizabeth Cannon. "This combined support is helping foster world-class medical research in this province. The leadership both Geoff and the Province have shown by investing in our students and researchers is extraordinary. I am excited to see what our researchers and students will achieve at the Cumming School of Medicine in the decades to come."

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is a leading Canadian university located in the nation's most enterprising city. The university has a clear strategic direction to become one of Canada's top five research universities by 2016, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.'

For more information, visit ucalgary.ca. Stay up to date with University of Calgary news headlines on Twitter @UCalgary and in our media centre at ucalgary.ca/news/media.

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Geoffrey Cumming donates $100 million for medical research at the University of Calgary. The Government of Alberta will provide matching funds. Photo credit: Courtesy of University of Calgary.

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