News Release

Lawrence J. and Florence A. De George of Jupiter Give $5 Million for Biomedical Research at Scripps Florida

Donation Is Largest to Date for Research at New Campus Under Construction at Mecca Farms

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL, September 23, 2005—Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence J. De George of Jupiter, Florida, have donated $5 million to The Scripps Research Institute to support biomedical science at the Institute's new campus in Palm Beach County, it was announced jointly today by Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Scripps Research President Richard A. Lerner, M.D., during groundbreaking ceremonies for the new state-of-the-art facilities.

The gift from Lawrence J. and Florence A. De George Charitable Trust is the largest that has been made to Scripps Florida, a division of The Scripps Research Institute, since the Governor and Dr. Lerner announced that the California-based organization would expand its operations into Florida in 2003.  

Five $1 million gifts from other Palm Beach County residents have already been announced. 

"I know that all Floridians join me in thanking Larry and Florence De George for their historic gift, as well as for everything that they have given and done for other great causes here," said Governor Bush.  "Their record of philanthropy to education, health care, human services, and now biomedical research is unparalleled anywhere in our state."

The couple gave $5 million to the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in 1997, followed by gifts totaling more than $2 million to the organization since then, all for diabetic research.  In the same period, they also contributed over $4 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward and Palm Beach Counties.  As founders, along with General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Paul Newman, the De Georges have contributed over $7 million to Camp Boggy Creek at Eustis, Florida, for medically disabled youths.  Together, they are frequent honorees at gala events for local and national causes, from the American Cancer Society to American Red Cross.

"Florence and I believe in Florida, where we have our business and our home," said Mr. De George.  "We consider our gift to Scripps Florida an investment in the state's future-economically, educationally, and culturally.  We salute the Governor and Board of County Commissioners for their vision and their fortitude in fighting the good fight for Scripps Florida."

In addition to $310 million from the State of Florida, Palm Beach County has contributed $200 million-including 100 acres at Mecca Farms-to help build and start up operations at Scripps Florida's new campus.  The campus, featuring three buildings totaling 345,000 square feet of laboratory space, is scheduled to open in late 2007.  Until then, Scripps Florida scientists numbering more than 100 continue work in temporary facilities built for the purpose by Florida Atlantic University, also with support from the Board of County Commissioners, on FAU's northern Palm Beach County campus in Jupiter.

Under terms of the De George gift, Scripps Florida must be built at Mecca Farms on the schedule agreed upon by the state, the county, and Scripps Research.  Also, under terms of Scripps' contract with Florida, 15 percent of the gift must be remitted to the state’s Biomedical Fund to support biomedical research grants to qualified Florida research universities and organizations. 

"Philanthropy is part of Palm Beach County's particular genius," said Scripps Research President Lerner.  "Larry and Florence De George exemplify that quality brilliantly.  We thank them for honoring us with their gift, and we're proud they've selected Scripps Research to join the other great causes they have supported so generously for so many years."

The De Georges were married in 1943.  During their 62 year marriage, they have both worked at independent careers.  Larry followed a financial career as a merchant banker, establishing three Fortune 500 public companies, and Florence as a commercial interior designer on New York's Wall Street and Madison Avenue.  Florence is best known for her work at the Four Seasons restaurant.  They both have worked together for the past 15 years in the restructuring of over 40 acquired companies and forming their three Fortune 500 public vehicles.  By donating a piece of each company they acquired, they formed the Lawrence J. and Florence A. De George Charitable Trust.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute, headquartered in La Jolla, California, in 14 buildings on 100 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, 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. Established in its current configuration in 1961, it employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel.

Scripps Florida, a 364,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art biomedical research facility, is under construction on Mecca Farms in Palm Beach County.  The facility, expected to be completed in late 2007, will focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development. Palm Beach County and the State of Florida have provided start-up economic packages for development, building, staffing, and equipping the campus. Scripps Florida now operates with approximately 130 scientists, technicians, and administrative staff at 40,000 square-foot lab facilities on the Florida Atlantic University campus in Jupiter. 

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