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Herring Gift Boosts Duke Eye Center Building Campaign

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. - Leonard and Rose Herring of North Wilkesboro, N.C., have given $1 million to the Duke Eye Center, moving it closer to a new research facility, Duke University President Nannerl O. Keohane announced Wednesday.

Leonard Herring is the former chief executive officer of Lowes Companies Inc., and a longtime Eye Center patient. He underwent successful corneal transplants at Duke in 1996 and continues to receive care at the Eye Center.

"We are very grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Herring," Keohane said. "Their generosity will help provide a superb facility to advance the state-of-the art ophthalmology research that has brought better vision to people throughout North Carolina and beyond."

Dr. Ralph Snyderman, chancellor for health affairs and president of the Duke Health System, also expressed gratitude for the gift: "The Herring's leadership gift will bring the Eye Center's goal closer to reality. Its investment in research is an example of the many benefits to society made possible when academic medicine is supported by philanthropic partners in the community."

The proposed Eye Research Institute will be constructed behind the Wadsworth Building, which houses the Duke Eye Center. It was built in 1973, largely funded through private philanthropy. "Our gift is in recognition of the quality of care and attention I received as a patient at the Duke Eye Center," Herring said. "We are also very pleased that the Eye Center will be able to expand while remaining in this central and very accessible location. It is especially gratifying to know that the Duke Eye Center can continue to grow and advance its mission of providing the very best care to people throughout our state and region."

Dr. David Epstein, director of the Eye Center and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, said individual philanthropists like the Herrings and many others have made a critical difference over the years.

"We depend on the partnership we have with individual and corporate philanthropists to continue the extraordinary advances we have made in understanding and treating devastating eye diseases," Epstein said. "With recent advances in genomics and molecular and cell biology, we anticipate an unprecedented pace of discovery over the next decade."

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