Officials Announce $25 Million Gift to VCU School of Medicine

New medical school building to be named in honor of James and Frances McGlothlin

Virginia Commonwealth University officials and Gov. Bob McDonnell today announced a $25 million donation to the VCU School of Medicine by James and Frances McGlothlin.

Officials also announced that in recognition of the gift — one of the largest in the university’s history — and the McGlothlins’ longtime support of the VCU School of Medicine, the new medical education building now under construction will be named the James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Medical Education Center.

The donation itself was made in recognition of Dr. Harold Young, director of the Harold F. Young Neurosurgical Center at the VCU Medical Center. Dr. Young also is professor and founding chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, a position he has held for more than half of his 38-year tenure at VCU.

The McGlothlins said that Young and his team have been “guardian angels” for them and countless other patients who have benefited from their skill, talent and dedication to the health care profession.

“I very much share the McGlothlins’ respect and affection for Dr. Harry Young and his leadership at the VCU Medical Center,” said VCU President Michael Rao. “Jim and Fran McGlothlin’s extraordinary generosity will help to ensure that the VCU School of Medicine realizes its goal to educate physicians in the spirit of this talented and compassionate surgeon and his team. 

“Our new medical education center and the new curriculum that will be taught in it is an important step in that direction,” he said.

The 12-story, 200,000-square-foot building will bring together faculty, medical students, residents and practicing physicians in a state-of-the-art training hub that is being designed to create a new standard in medical education. The interior has been planned to house the most significant renovation to the school’s curriculum in more than 30 years. 

The $158.6 million building also will enable the school to address the national and statewide physician shortage by accommodating a larger class size, from 200 to 250 — increasing the total medical student body to 1,000.

“On behalf of all Virginians, I want to sincerely thank James and Frances McGlothlin for their incredibly gracious gift. This selfless act of generosity will help the School of Medicine to graduate more doctors in the years ahead, ultimately ensuring that more Americans will have access to the quality medical care they need and deserve,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell. “The McGlothlin’s have given a gift that will resonate through the years as doctors leave the School of Medicine and practice in our communities. It is fitting that the gift was presented in recognition of Dr. Harold Young, who has dedicated his life to improving the lives of others.

“The effort to finance and build the new James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Medical Education Center represents a best practice in public-private partnerships. The commonwealth has committed $70 million to this project – the largest amount ever given to a university for this type of endeavor. The university is funding the remaining $88.6 million of the project cost, in part through private contributions like the one we celebrate today. This is a great day for VCU, Virginia and health care in this commonwealth and country,” McDonnell said.

Designed by I.M. Pei’s internationally acclaimed architectural firm, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, and Ballinger architects, the building also will be an important addition to Richmond’s architectural heritage.

“The new facility will be a landmark not only because of its design, but because of its unique attributes, including a large simulation center, that will support curriculum innovation across the spectrum of medical education” said Dr. Jerome Strauss, dean of the VCU School of Medicine.

The structure is being built to meet the United States Green Building Council’s criteria for LEED Silver certification. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the council’s leading rating system for designing and constructing the world’s greenest, most energy efficient and high-performing buildings.

Completion is scheduled for Spring 2013.

In 2004, the McGlothlins, who reside in Bristol, Va., made a $2 million gift to establish the James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Chair in Neurosurgery at VCU, currently held by Harold Young.

James McGlothlin is CEO of The United Co., one of the country’s largest privately held companies.