Caroline and Sidney Kimmel

Philanthropists Sidney and Caroline Kimmel have gifted $70 million to Thomas Jefferson University toward the construction of a new research building that is intended to enhance “big ideas” research at its Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, the University announced last night at its 17th Annual Jefferson Gala.

“The Caroline Kimmel Biomedical Research Building will serve as a magnet for scientific talent and will bolster our status as an R2 national research university,” Mark Tykocinski, MD, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and the Anthony F. and Gertrude M. DePalma dean, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, said in a statement.

“R2” universities, as classified under the updated Basic Classification framework developed by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, are a category of doctoral universities that carry out “high” levels of research activity. Such universities award at least 20 research/scholarship doctoral degrees and at least $5 million in total research expenditures as reported through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Higher Education Research & Development Survey (HERD).

“This gift will have a profound and lasting impact on Jefferson’s ability to further pursue scientific discovery,” Tykocinski added.

The Kimmels’ gift will partially fund a building whose cost was estimated to range between $300 million and $350 million, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported, including the construction of a bridge connecting the facility to the Bluemle Life Sciences Building.

The new 12-story research building—now in early planning stages—will rise within Philadelphia’s Center City at 9th and Locust Streets, on what is now the site of the parking garage of the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience. The 220,000-square-foot building will house labs for 56 NIH-funded researchers and their teams, Jefferson president and CEO Stephen K. Klasko told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The new building, along with the Bluemle building and another existing building, Jefferson Alumni Hall, are intended to create what the university calls a “research corridor” along Locust Street. The bridge to Bluemle is designed to foster connections with researchers in the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, where Caroline Kimmel serves as a member of the Advisory Council, and the larger Jefferson research community, the University stated.

The total cost of the project is expected to fall between $300 million and $350 million, with a bridge connecting the facility to the Bluemle Life Sciences Building, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Thomas Jefferson University will build the new research building as part of its $1 billion “Reimagine” capital campaign, which includes among its cornerstones research—with Jefferson emphasizing an integrative approach that combines basic science with clinical and applied research.

The Reimagine campaign aims to raise funds for initiatives that support talented faculty and students, create spaces that heal and inspire, unite communities for health equity, and fuel discoveries that will improve lives.

Sidney Kimmel established his own clothing line, Jones New York, in 1970. The company grew during the 1970s and 1980s into a leading women’s apparel company before going public in 1991, adding brands that included Anne Klein, Nine West, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Stuart Weitzman.

Kimmel served as CEO of Jones New York until 2003 and as chairman until 2014, when The Jones Group was sold for $2.2 billion. Since then, he and Caroline have continued the philanthropic endeavors to which he committed after taking Jones public. Sidney and Caroline Kimmel married in 1999 and reside in Southern California.

“In one act, I have been able to honor my wonderful marriage to Caroline, my home town of Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University which I call the Soul of the City, and cancer research to which I have devoted so much of my time and resources,” Kimmel stated. “What more could I ask for?  I am so fortunate, frankly blessed, to have this opportunity.”

Added Caroline: “I’m profoundly grateful to have my name and our 20th anniversary celebrated in such a meaningful way at Jefferson. This moment forever links our personal commitment to cancer research, our legacy, and our abiding love. I couldn’t be happier!”

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