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DENVER-Alberto Vilar, a New York City-based technology investor and philanthropist, pledged $25 million to the National Jewish Medical and Research Center for the construction of a new scientific and medical research facility. The donation is by far the largest gift National Jewish has received since it was founded in 1899.

The five-story, 113,000-sf Alberto Vilar Research Center will house laboratories, faculty offices, conference rooms and other facilities for medical and scientific research. Each laboratory floor will contain eight labs around the perimeter, with centralized support space in the middle.

The building will be constructed on the north end of the National Jewish campus, along Colfax Avenue, just west of Colorado Boulevard.

Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2002.

Vilar, a part-time resident of the Beaver Creek ski resort in Colorado, is a patient at National Jewish.

National Jewish is the only medical and research center in the US devoted exclusively to the research and treatment of respiratory, allergic and immune diseases. Diseases it tackled include asthma, allergies, tuberculosis, emphysema, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus.

“As a philanthropist, I try to channel my support to world-class research institutions and hospitals that set the standard in their respective fields,” Vilar says. ”I want to be sure that a healthcare institution that I give support to will improve a clinical procedure or has a reasonable chance of finding a cure for a currently untreatable disease. National Jewish clearly meets this objective.

“As a patient, I experienced firsthand its remarkable care,” Vilar adds. ”As a donor, I am convinced that National Jewish will be the site of many incredible breakthroughs in the years to come. I am proud that the facility will bear my name, not only because I want to support the best institutions, but also because, as with every gift I give, my goal is to serve as an example to others. I believe that by publicizing large gifts, their impact can be leveraged. If a friend, or a colleague, or a complete stranger is inspired to make a donation of any amount because I have done so, then my gift has made that much more of a difference.”

In 1980, Vilar founded Amerindo Investment Advisors, which was one of the earliest and largest investors in many companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, eBay, Amgen and Genentech.

The gift couldn’t come at a better time, says Dr. Lynn M. Taussig, president and CEO of National Jewish.

”Our research facilities are crowded and aging,” Taussig says. ”As a non-profit, independent medical and research center, we frankly don’t have deep pockets. Mr. Vilar’s gift will allow us to construct state-of-the-art research labs and facilities, and further enhance our already strong worldwide scientific and medical research programs.”

Vilar supports such institutions such as the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Los Angeles Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, and Russia’s Kirov Opera and Ballet Co. He also helped built the Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek and supports the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater/Vilar Pavilions in Beaver Creek.

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