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REcent BEQUESTS ADVANCE RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP AT Temple University SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

April 25, 2014

 

vera j goodfriend

Lucien L. Trigiano (MD, 1952) and Vera J. Goodfriend (BA, 1940). Images courtesy of Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

 

Vera J. Goodfriend, a 1940 graduate of Temple’s College of Education who passed away last year at 93, left a $6.9 million bequest to Temple University School of Medicine. This planned gift will transform the School’s potential to break new ground in the study of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, or geriatrics.

 

The longtime citizen of Washington, D.C., worked as a mathematician for the federal government. She loved sports and politics. She followed advancements in medicine as well, having been devastated by the loss of her father and brother to cancer and heart disease at young ages. Goodfriend lived frugally but was a savvy investor. The $6.9 million bequest, in fact, began as a modest inheritance she received in the 1960s.

“We are tremendously grateful,” said Larry Kaiser, MD, FACS, Dean of Temple University School of Medicine and Temple Health President and CEO. “Planned giving is an extremely important part of philanthropy.”

Goodfriend’s gift will be used in three ways. It will establish an endowed chair in Cardiovascular Research at the School of Medicine. It will also endow a chair in a new Genetics Department – a position to focus on the genetic bases of cardiovascular disease and cancer, redoubling the school’s potential to recruit and retain a world-class expert to build and lead this department. Finally, it will endow a postdoctoral fellowship in genetics for the proposed Department – again, significantly enhancing the School’s ability to recruit exceptional candidates.

 

During the past year, Temple Health has received bequests totaling more than $14 million. Goodfriend’s was the largest. Another generous gift—a charitable remainder unitrust slated for medical student scholarships--came from the estate of Lucien L. Trigiano, MD, a graduate of the Class of 1952 who passed away in March at the age of 88. A decade ago, the jovial, self-described “education bug” had made a generous donation in support of medical student scholarship at Temple — expressing the wish that recipients agree to help other students someday. This new gift establishes the Lucien L. Trigiano, MD, Scholarship Fund at the School of Medicine.


Born in Easton, PA, to parents who ran a little grocery store, Trigiano had polio as a child, but bounced back, excelling athletically and academically. He attended Texas Christian University--playing in the 1945 Cotton Bowl --served two years in the Navy, and then put himself through medical school by driving a cab, painting houses, and selling cars.

 

Trigiano went on to launch a spinal cord injury rehabilitation center, three rehabilitation departments at San Francisco hospitals, and a medical-legal consulting practice for brain and spinal cord injury cases. A licensed pilot, he flew all over the country to see clients and patients in his own plane. In 1997, an automobile accident nearly ended his life— but after a year of intensive rehabilitation (the field he knew best), he again bounced back. Just a few years later, he became an inaugural member of Temple University School of Medicine’s Board of Visitors.

 

“My years in medicine were a tremendous journey,” Trigiano said in 2001, when the School of Medicine honored him with its Alumni Service Award. “It was the people and the quality of education at Temple that carried me through all these years.”

 

Other planned gifts have recently come from dedicated alumni, patients, and friends wishing to provide for Temple Health’s future. Alumnus Alex P. Von Schlichten, MD ’61, endowed a scholarship fund at the School of Medicine through his bequest, also providing unrestricted operating funds through his IRA gift.


Robert A. Ritter of Newtown, PA, left $1 million to Fox Chase Cancer Center in his will to be used at the institution’s discretion. The World War II veteran, who passed away last year at the age of 95, had never been a Fox Chase patient, but had supported the institution since 1984. Another donor left a bequest for Alzheimer’s disease research.


“Through their thoughtful planning, these individuals have created legacies of lasting impact for medical research, education and patient care,” said Kaiser. “We extend our gratitude and appreciation in their memory.”