Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle Corporation and USC’s 2016 commencement speaker, has donated $200 million to the University in order to fund a cancer research center in West Los Angeles, the University announced on Wednesday.
The Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC will be led by David Agus, a professor of engineering and medicine at USC and the current director of the Center for Applied Molecular Medicine and USC Westside Cancer Center.
“It is an honor and a privilege to team up with Larry Ellison in the fight against cancer,” Agus told USC News. “Larry understands the need for transformation in cancer care. His gift will enable us to change our very approach on cancer research, treatment and prevention.”
Ellison, who in 2015 was named the world’s second richest man in the tech industry by Forbes, announced the donation at the USC Center for Applied Molecular Medicine’s Rebels with a Cause fundraising gala.
“The new institute will invite mathematicians, physicists and other scientists to collaborate with cancer researchers from the traditional disciplines of medicine and biology,” Ellison said, according to USC News. “We believe the interdisciplinary approach will yield up new insights currently hidden in existing patient data.”
Ellison had previously planned a similar $115 million donation to Harvard University in 2006 for cancer research, but reneged on the gift due to concerns about how the money would be handled after the University’s then-president stepped down, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Ellison’s gift matches the largest single donation ever given to the school. In 2011, David and Dana Dornsife donated $200 million to the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, now known as the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. More recently, the University announced in March that it had raised $5 billion of a $6 billion fundraising campaign that was launched in 2011.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Ellison and Agus are already well acquainted, and Ellison has been discussing this donation with President C.L. Max Nikias for the past 15 months.
“This investment by Larry Ellison in USC is as inspirational as it is momentous, and it will serve as a dynamic force for change in how we approach cancer treatment and prevention,” Nikias told USC News. “It is a concrete endorsement of USC’s vision to invest in the promise and potential of new technologies, and to support a bold push forward in how we achieve wellness.”