Texas energy entrepreneur and financier T. Boone Pickens has announced his plans to give $20 million to the Wilmer Eye Institute. The gift, included in his estate, will create an endowment to fund a T. Boone Pickens Scholars program, supporting clinician-scientists with promising and innovative ideas for new research avenues.
"What this gift will do," said Peter J. McDonnell, M.D., the William Holland Wilmer Professor of Ophthalmology and director of the institute, "is allow us to scour the globe, not just the United States, to find the best and brightest young minds, bring them here as Boone Pickens Scholars, [and] invest in them the resources that will allow them to explore that brilliant idea that, if it pans out, is going to be a game changer."
Pickens, founder of Mesa Petroleum and, at 85, the still-active chairman of BP Capital Management, has been treated at Wilmer for cataracts and for macular degeneration. When complete, the Pickens bequest will bring his support of Wilmer to more than $28 million. He established the Boone Pickens Professorship in Ophthalmology in 2005, now held by cornea and cataract specialist Walter J. Stark, M.D., and later contributed $6 million to construction of the institute’s Robert H. and Clarice Smith Building, which opened in 2009.
T. Boone Pickens and Wilmer faculty discuss the importance and promise of this gift:
The Visionary Boone Pickens
Texas energy entrepreneur and financier T. Boone Pickens bequeaths $20 million to The Johns Hopkins University to support daring, but potentially vision-saving research at the university's Wilmer Eye Institute.