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In Memoriam:
Aline Wilmot Skaggs
(1926 – 2015)

Aline Wilmot Skaggs, who was a generous benefactor of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), passed away January 5 from age-related causes. She was 88. 

“The TSRI community is saddened by the loss of Aline, and offer heartfelt condolences to the Skaggs family,” said James Paulson, TSRI’s acting president and CEO. “Over the last 20 years, the generosity and foresight of the Skaggs family has helped build TSRI into one of the foremost research institutes in the world, and has resulted in discoveries that have led to new therapies and improved human health.” 

Starting in the 1980s, Mrs. Skaggs and her late husband, L.S “Sam” Skaggs, made numerous gifts to TSRI through the Skaggs family foundation, The ALSAM Foundation. In 1996, they made a commitment of $100 million—one of the largest ever made for medical research—to create The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology.

With the ultimate goal of alleviating human suffering, the Skaggs Institute brings together intellectual, technological and financial resources to conduct research at the interface of chemistry and biology. This research lays the foundation for rational drug design, the process of developing new compounds to address a variety of genetic, autoimmune, viral and bacterial diseases. 

A Lasting Legacy

Aline Skaggs was born March 13, 1926, in Boise, Idaho. She graduated from Boise High School and Boise Business School, and married Sam Skaggs on February 27, 1949. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to Great Falls, Montana, then to Salt Lake City, Utah, where Mr. Skaggs assumed responsibility for Skaggs Payless Drug Stores—the beginning of what would be a meteoric career as a businessman and entrepreneur.

Mrs. Skaggs was deeply involved in the community and served on many philanthropic boards, including American Stores Company, Tracy-Collins Bank, American Television of Utah, University of Utah National Advisory Council, KUED Television, Southern Utah University Institutional Council, Utah Symphony Guild Board, the Airport Authority Board and Utah Opera Board. She was also former president and founding member of the Assistance League of Salt Lake City. In 1990, Mrs. Skaggs was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Utah.

Her other activities included keeping pets (poodles, horses and a pet deer, Lafena), golfing, playing bridge, cooking, reading and listening to country music. She also enjoyed spending time with her family at a home in Dana Point, California. 

Over the years, the Skaggs family gave hundreds of millions of dollars to education, health research and social services though the ALSAM Foundation.

At TSRI, in addition to the $100 million gift to create the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, the foundation underwrote the construction of The Aline W. & L.S. Skaggs Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Center and provided financial support for research relating to anti-cancer drug design. The family’s gifts to TSRI have totaled more than $128 million.

Mrs. Skaggs, who was predeceased by Mr. Skaggs on March 21, 2013, is survived by four children—including Claudia Luttrell and Mark Skaggs who continue the family legacy at TSRI as members of the Board of Trustees—16 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren.

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aline skaggs
Aline Wilmot Skaggs was a generous benefactor of TSRI.