COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State University Medical Center is being renamed today, in honor of one of the university’s most committed leaders and benefactors, Leslie H. Wexner (’59). The Ohio State University Board of Trustees unanimously voted this morning in favor of the name change – affirming that Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University is a fitting tribute for Mr. Wexner’s three decades of visionary leadership and service.
“Les has been among Ohio State’s most dedicated leaders and most passionate supporters for many decades, and someone who continues to make an indelible impact on our community,” said President E. Gordon Gee. “His generous contributions, both in time and resources, have been wholly transformational, but his most valuable gift has been his extraordinary leadership. He has a firm and unequivocal vision for our academic Medical Center, and that is to be a world-class institution, period.”
Gee added that the new naming “recognizes the critical work the Wexners have undertaken to ensure The Ohio State University Medical Center is able to solve some of medicine’s most persistent challenges and change lives for the better.”
Mr. Wexner’s philanthropic connection to Ohio State began three years after he graduated, when he made a $5 donation to the university. For more than 30 years, Mr. Wexner and his affiliates have donated more than $200 million to the university, as well as hundreds of millions more that Mr. Wexner has directly helped to raise. Last year, Mr. Wexner, his wife Abigail, and the Limited Brands Foundation’s $100 million gift to the medical center, the James Cancer Hospital and the Wexner Center for the Arts was the largest single donation in Ohio State’s history.
Mr. Wexner has led Ohio State during significant times of progress. He has served 16 years on the Board of Trustees. As the current board chair, Mr. Wexner helped to guide the $1 billion expansion of the medical center, the largest undertaking in the university’s history and one that will revolutionize the way cancer prevention and care is provided.
As a founding member and the first chair of The Ohio State University Foundation Board, and later as a member of the University Campaign Steering Committee, Mr. Wexner became a driving force behind the growth of the university’s endowment, which now totals more than $2 billion.
Mr. Wexner and his family also have been closely involved with many of the signature programs connected with the medical center. They chair the James Fund for Life Campaign and have contributed significantly to the Stress, Trauma and Resilience Program. Mrs. Wexner currently serves on the medical center’s Board of Directors. The Wexners have been lead supporters of Pelotonia, one of the most successful research fundraisers in the nation. In its first three years, this annual bike tour has raised more than $25 million for cancer research at The Ohio State University James Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.
“I have often said that but for The Ohio State University, I would not have had an opportunity to receive a college degree,” Mr. Wexner said. “Attending this university changed my life, and I continue to witness the incredible potential this institution has to do the same thing for others. The Ohio State University Medical Center is one of the finest academic medical centers in the country. I have every confidence that the complex medical challenges confronting us today will be solved at The Ohio State University through the collaboration among researchers and scientists from a broad spectrum of specialties.”
Dr. Steven G. Gabbe, CEO of Wexner Medical Center, added that The Ohio State University has a vision. “It is one in which Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University is synonymous with life-changing, personalized health care, based on the unique needs of each patient. This institution has been shaped by the vision and commitment of Mr. and Mrs. Wexner and is proud to carry their name.”
Located in Columbus, Ohio, Wexner Medical Center is one of the largest and most diverse academic medical centers in the country and the only academic medical center in central Ohio. Ohio State’s medical center includes: the College of Medicine; six hospitals; a unified physician practice; a network of primary and specialty care practices; more than a dozen research centers and institutes; and 20 core laboratories.
Ohio State’s medical center is a national leader in transforming health care through P4 Medicine, a health care system that is personalized, predictive, preventive and participatory. The academic medical center’s six signature programs
– Cancer, Critical Care, Heart, Imaging, Neurosciences and Transplantation – and supporting programs are key to providing science-based and individually tailored patient care to people in central Ohio and beyond. Ohio State has ranked among the nation’s best hospitals for nearly 20 years and the National Cancer Institute recently rated Ohio State’s cancer program as “exceptional,” the highest rating given by National Cancer Institute survey teams.
In addition to providing the seed money for the Wexner Center for the Arts, named for his father, Mr. Wexner created the Wexner Prize for the Arts, which has brought to Columbus some of the world’s most original and influential artists such as Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese.
Mr. Wexner was instrumental in the formation of Fisher College of Business and in ensuring its place today as one of the premier business schools in the country. He and Mrs. Wexner also created the Fisher Council on Global Trade and Technology and the Fisher Prize to honor the lifelong achievements of both the Fisher Prize honoree and Max M. Fisher. Mr. Wexner is the current chair of The Ohio State University Board of Trustees; Mrs. Wexner serves on the Wexner Medical Center Board.
Beyond the Ohio State campus, the Wexners have demonstrated a commitment to the health and well-being of women, children and families. They continue to be active in the Wexner Institute for Pediatric Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Mrs. Wexner is the chair of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital board, and she founded and serves as chair of the boards of directors for KidsOhio.org and the Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Contact: Shelly Hoffman, OSU Media Relations, 614-247-4748