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The Skip Viragh Center for Pancreas Cancer Clinical Research and Patient Care in Baltimore was made possible by an extraordinary gift of $20 million established in memory of Skip Viragh, a Maryland mutual fund leader, and a pancreas cancer patient treated at Johns Hopkins, who died in 2003 at age 62.
Viragh was considered one of the most influential mutual fund investment authorities. He founded Rydex Funds, based in Rockville, Md., and grew the business from a three-person operation to a 200 plus employee enterprise with more than $10 billion in assets under management.
But Viragh was so much more than a brilliant businessman. His legacy was a consistent commitment to charity throughout his life; his accomplishments in taking on human causes – supporting medical research, education, and charities addressing poverty and domestic violence – are as momentous. In fact, he was named posthumously in 2009 as one of America's Top Donors by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
His death from pancreas cancer did not end his good works. To the contrary, his vision and dedication to conquering pancreas cancer through the Skip Viragh Center for Pancreas Cancer Clinical Research and Patient Care has made possible unprecedented clinical discovery and improvements in patient care. Because of Viragh’s commitment, Johns Hopkins is at the forefront of pancreas cancer discovery and care. With more than 50 scientists dedicated to understanding and treating this disease, our experts offer the best medicine available and can provide excellent care to many more patients than would otherwise be possible.
Experts from around the United States and the world visit the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center to learn what makes the Skip Viragh Center special.
“The name says it all,” say center co-directors, Elizabeth Jaffee, M.D., and Daniel Laheru, M.D. Viragh’s commitment has fostered research projects that would have gone unfunded, say Jaffee and Laheru, the world’s foremost experts in pancreas cancer.
“It is impossible to overstate the importance and impact that Skip has made, and continues to make, on pancreas cancer research and treatment,” says Jaffee. “It has made it possible to recruit and retain the best pancreas cancer scientists in the field, help clinicians and scientists realize revolutionary laboratory and clinical advances, and provide unparalleled care to patients.”
As a result, the courage and genius of Viragh lives on through the many patients the Skip Viragh Center for Pancreas Cancer Clinical Research and Patient Care has helped and the investigators who have dedicated their careers to eradicating this deadly cancer.
Viragh Gift Funds Outpatient Center Building
In 2014, Johns Hopkins received an additional $65 million gift from the Viragh Foundation. It is being used toward the construction of a new outpatient cancer building to be named for Viragh, slated for completion in 2017.