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Marjorie Fink

Husband’s Devastating Diagnosis Inspires Gifts to Scripps Florida

On September 11, 2001 as the whole world was focused on the destruction of the World Trade Center, Rodney and Marjorie Fink discovered terrible news of their own. On that day they learned that Rodney had non-smoker's lung cancer. This devastating disease is one of the most lethal cancers known. He lived barely three months after the diagnosis.

After Mr. Fink's illness and death, his wife Marjorie's interest in medical research was captured by the announcement of the Scripps Florida project. She has become a pivotal figure in the development of Scripps Florida, and a motivating force behind our pioneering science.

A Palm Beach resident with an English degree from the University of Wisconsin and a merchandising background from New York, Marjorie Fink has a restless energy, coupled with relentless curiosity that attracted her to Scripps Research when plans were announced to build the Scripps Research campus in Florida.

"My husband, Rod, died of non-smoker's lung cancer. The experience of that devastating disease, added to my general interest in science, prepared me to ask questions and understand the answers I received when I began to look into Scripps Research," says Marjorie. "What I heard when I met the scientists in Florida, and what I saw when I toured the labs in California, convinced me to make a commitment to Scripps Research sooner rather than later."

The result of Marjorie's rapid immersion in Scripps Research was a gift by bequest, created quietly with her attorneys even before Scripps Florida opened its first lab. This was followed by a generous cash gift a few months later.

"After seeing evidence of so much work in so many areas of science being started in Florida — and already underway in California — I decided not to restrict my gift to any particular area of science, but to make an investment in the future by allowing Scripps Research to put the money for research where it is most needed," said Marjorie.

But Marjorie hasn't rested. Since writing her bequest and making her cash gift, she has attended meetings with Scripps Research scientists, and served as an ambassador, representing Scripps Research to donors and decision-makers nationwide. She also joined Scripps Research's Board of Trustees in 2006.

Friends of Rod and Marjorie Fink were present in February 2009 for the dedication of the new Rodney Fink Educational Pavilion located in the new buildings at Scripps Florida.

The Pavilion includes a 240-seat auditorium and two technology–rich classrooms to make possible an active schedule of educational programs. In addition to biomedical scientific research, Scripps Florida plays an important role in the training of graduate students earning their PhD's in chemical and biological sciences.

The California campus of Scripps Research enrolls more than 200 graduate students each year. They receive individualized instruction and take part in research under the direction of faculty. The new educational facilities in Jupiter help to expand Scripps Research's much smaller graduate program in Florida with enhanced teleconferencing to reach students at both sites.

In addition to educational programs targeting graduate students, a regular schedule of scientific lectures takes place in the new facilities. These talks not only highlight the research of faculty and visiting scientists, but also present work undertaken by postdoctoral fellows who join research teams at Scripps Florida to continue their training as scientists.

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Marjorie Fink looks forward, not back.