Biodesign mourns the loss of J. Orin Edson, philanthropist and entrepreneur

Biodesign mourns the loss of J. Orin Edson, philanthropist and entrepreneur

September 5, 2019

  • Edson

    This spring, Charlene and J. Orin Edson made a $50 million gift to Arizona State University, to be split evenly between the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and the Biodesign Institute in support of the university’s groundbreaking, multidisciplinary research on dementia, and to enhance education and training for nurses and caregivers. J. Orin Edson died Aug. 27 at the age of 87, but his name and legacy live on at Arizona State University.


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September 4, 2019

In March 2019, Arizona State University received a transformational gift of $50 million from Charlene and Orin Edson; $25 million was directed to the Biodesign Institute, and $25 million to the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, which is now known as the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Edson died Aug. 27 at the age of 87, but his name and legacy live on at Arizona State University.

At the time of their gift, the Edson family issued this statement: “We believe in ASU’s interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to finding solutions. We look forward to new discoveries and solutions to better the quality of life for people affected by brain disease and the heartache of those that love them.”

The gift to Biodesign Institute benefits research on causes and cures of dementia, as well as identifying ways to manage the disease. The

ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center was established at the Biodesign Institute in 2015 to advance the scientific study, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Already, the research center is making an impact with discoveries that span the many dimensions of dementia, from an early blood test for Alzheimer’s, to an increased understanding of the role of epigenetics, and new techniques for detecting degenerative brain disease in professional football players. With the Edson’s gift, The Charlene and J. Orin Edson Initiative for Dementia Care and Solutions has been created at the Biodesign Institute. The funds will enable the research center to attract more faculty, support postdoctoral fellowships, and advance discovery using leading edge tools in engineering and artificial intelligence, among others.

“Orin’s contributions to our university were indispensable and will be remembered for years to come. In all, the Edsons have donated more than $65 million to ASU,” said ASU Foundation CEO Gretchen Buhlig.

Edson is survived by his wife and two sons.

 

Written by: Michelle Stermole, ASU Now