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Last modified: Thursday, June 28, 2007

$10 million gift combines with state funds for IU-Notre Dame facility

June 27, 2007

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A gift of $10 million will combine with state funding in the same amount to support the construction of Harper Hall, a new building for expanded medical and cancer research initiatives at the Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend.

Charles M. "Mike" Harper, retired chair and chief executive officer of ConAgra Foods and of RJR Nabisco, has made the $10 million gift to the University of Notre Dame. The state funding of $10 million recently was appropriated to IU for the project. The state funds were included in the budget bill, which passed the General Assembly on April 29 and was signed into law May 11 by Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Harper's gift is in memory of his late wife, Josie.

Dr. Rudy Navari, assistant dean and director of IUSM-SB and director of Notre Dame's Walther Cancer Research Center, lauded Harper's decision to make a gift that would have such significant impact on his hometown.

"Cancer research is the No. 1 research priority of the IU Medical School and of the highest importance at Notre Dame," he said. "This facility will allow us to bring research being conducted in many areas under one roof in a designated cancer research area. With more research space comes the prospect of adding more research faculty, both which will allow us to get to the next level of cancer research."

Harper Hall will be of similar design as Raclin-Carmichael Hall, which houses IUSM-SB and Notre Dame's Keck Center for Transgene Research at the corner of Angela Boulevard and Notre Dame Avenue.

The new facility, which will be adjacent to Raclin-Carmichael, will include laboratories and offices for IUSM-SB and Notre Dame's cancer research activities under the auspices of a new Mike and Josie Harper Cancer Research Institute. Scientists from Notre Dame and Indiana University will collaborate on research in the area of cancer biology, with an emphasis on genomics and proteomics.