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Louis L. Gonda and Mark S. Skaggs Join Scripps Research Institute Board of Trustees

La Jolla, CA, March 31, 2005—Business executives and philanthropists Louis L. Gonda of Beverly Hills, California, and Mark S. Skaggs of Boise, Idaho, have been elected to the Board of Trustees of The Scripps Research Institute of California and Florida, one of the world’s largest independent, nonprofit biomedical research organizations.

Gonda was a founding partner of International Lease Finance Corporation, the world’s largest purchaser of Boeing and Airbus aircraft and the largest lessor to the world’s airlines, and served as its executive vice president until 1995. Since retiring from ILFC, Gonda has been actively involved in commercial real estate investments and venture capital activities, including entertainment-related investments. He directs his philanthropic activities through The Gonda Family Foundation and The Gonda Arts and Education Foundation.

Skaggs, an attorney and business executive, spent 25 years with American Stores. He owns a boutique real estate development company and manages his family’s agricultural concerns in Idaho. He is an active member of the ALSAM Foundation, a long-time supporter of Scripps Research.

“The leadership skills of Louis and Mark in business development and management, investment, and philanthropy will add further expertise to our Board of Trustees,” said Scripps Research President Richard A. Lerner. “As we move forward both in California and Florida, the Institute will look to Mark and Louis for their wise counsel and careful stewardship.”

The 30-member board oversees the La Jolla-based Scripps Research Institute and its new division in Palm Beach County, Florida. Scripps Research is at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. It is internationally recognized for its research into immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and synthetic vaccine development

Louis L. Gonda

Gonda, 56, is a native of Caracas, Venezuela, whose Hungarian parents left Europe just after the end of World War II. At age 15, he and his family moved to Beverly Hills, California. He attended the University of Southern California and Woodbury University in Los Angeles, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing.

In 1973, he and two partners founded International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), which grew to be the largest purchaser of Boeing and Airbus aircraft in the world and the largest lessor to the world’s airline industry. ILFC became a public company in 1983 and was merged with American International Group (AIG) in 1990. Gonda continues to serve as a member of its Board of Directors.

In 1995, Gonda formed Lexington Commercial Holdings and, through Lexington Reality, LLC, began a diversification program investing in Southern California commercial real estate. In 2000, he created Lexington Ventures, LLC, a private venture capital fund that invests in a broad equity portfolio for value appreciation. The company’s various entertainment-related activities were consolidated under Lexington Entertainment Group, which oversees and manages investments in theatrical and film production and postproduction services.

Gonda and his wife, Kelly, direct their philanthropic giving through The Gonda Family Foundation and The Gonda Arts and Education Foundation. They have supported elementary education and outreach programs throughout the United States, among which is a lead gift for the construction of Georgetown University’s new Performing Arts Center. The Gondas support major medical construction projects, like the Mayo Clinic’s Gonda Building, a new 20-story state-of-the-art hospital built in conjunction with the Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Foundation, and a new unit designed to train surgeons in the use of robotics, as well as a 13-bed observation unit for patients who enter the Emergency Room at the new UCLA Medical Center.

Gonda also served by Presidential appointment on the first Governing Council of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, where he established the Gonda Family Education Center to prepare and disseminate holocaust education materials to hundreds of teachers every month. The Center also provides information to thousands of students who visit the museum in school groups and conducts seminars for visiting teachers.

The Gonda family enjoys the outdoors and shares its interest in horses and through El Campeon Farms and Windy Hill Ranch, an equestrian breeding and training facility in Thousands Oaks, California.

Mark S. Skaggs

Skaggs received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Utah in 1975 and a Master of Business Administration degree from the same school in 1977. He was awarded his law degree from the University of Tulsa in 1996. The university’s College of Law recently honored Skaggs by naming him the Outstanding Alumnus of 2005.  He was also a member of the Program for Management Development #53 of the Harvard Graduate School of Business.

Skaggs is a member of the bar in both Oklahoma and Idaho and is currently applying for bar membership in Arkansas.

He spent 25 years with American Stores, a chain of retail grocery and drug stores, holding numerous positions ranging from courtesy clerk to divisional president.

Skaggs lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife, Cindy, who owns and manages a fine arts gallery there. Skaggs owns a boutique real estate development company and manages the family’s agricultural interests in southeastern Idaho.

He is an active member of the board of the ALSAM Foundation, through which he participates in his family’s philanthropic activities.

About The Scripps Research Institute and Scripps Florida

The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and Palm Beach County, Florida, is one of the world's largest, independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations.  It stands at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its research into immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development.

The Scripps Research Institute employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel in 14 buildings overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, a part of the City of San Diego.

Scripps Florida will be a 364,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art biomedical research facility to be built on 100 acres of undeveloped land in Palm Beach County.  Scripps Florida will focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development, employing more than 500 researchers and support staff by 2010. Palm Beach County and the State of Florida have provided start-up economic incentives for development, building, staffing, and equipping the campus.

Scripps Florida is now operating with more than 100 researchers and technicians at a 40,000 square-foot facility on the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter.

 


 

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