Rice University
Rice Magazine| The Magazine of Rice University | No. 1 | 2008
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Gift Boosts Biomedical Research

By B.J. Almond

“The health of nations is more important than the wealth of nations,” wrote philosopher and historian Will Durant. That may be, but modern biomedical research often takes substantial financial backing — the kind Rice recently received from the Virginia and L.E. Simmons Family Foundation.

The $3 million, five-year gift will enable Rice University, Texas Children’s Hospital and the Methodist Hospital Research Institute to work together on biomedical research aimed at discovering new ways to treat disease and benefit the health of both children and adults.

“The future of biomedical research will involve skills and knowledge that draw from highly specialized and premier institutions,” said L. E. Simmons, president of the Simmons Family Foundation and a trustee of all three of these Texas Medical Center institutions. “In the end, it will be people working together who will make the discoveries that change people’s lives. We want to help make it happen.”

The fund is intended to assist researchers who have new ideas, junior researchers who do not yet have funding and experienced researchers who might not otherwise collaborate with the other institutions. Ideally, the projects supported by the fund will develop into successful research programs that can be sustained by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and other sources of competitive funding.

L.E. Simmons“The future of biomedical research will involve skills and knowledge that draw from highly specialized and premier institutions. In the end, it will be the people working together who will make the discoveries that change people’s lives. We want to help make it happen.”   —L. E. Simmons




Simmons said he is excited about each of the three institutions’ commitment to research. “Collectively, they are spending nearly a billion dollars on facilities, equipment and resources to begin new biomedical research,” he said. “It may well be one of the most important commitments this city has ever made toward breakthrough research that will help people throughout the world.”

Learn more: www.rice.edu/go?id=001

Simmons is president and founder of SCF Partners, an investment firm that provides management expertise to energy service companies. He also is president of L.E. Simmons and Associates, a private equity fund manager and general partner of SCF. He serves as chairman of Oil States International Inc., a leading global provider of specialty products and services to oil and gas drilling and production companies. Virginia Simmons is vice president of the Simmons Family Foundation, which supports religion, art and culture organizations, education, and youth and medical associations.