Jane Butcher (B.A., International Affairs '66), who with late husband Charlie Butcher has played a key role in supporting the University of Colorado at Boulder's rapidly expanding biotechnology research efforts, has pledged $1 million toward the new Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building being built on the university's east campus.
Her gift will honor Charlie, a successful businessman with a zest for science, social responsibility, innovation and collaboration who passed away in 2004. His links to CU-Boulder-affiliated scientific startups spanned 30-plus years, and he played lead roles as a funder and adviser to firms such as Clonetics and NeXagen. With his wife, he founded the university's biennial forum the Butcher Symposia of Genomics and Biotechnology.
This gift commitment is the latest in nearly $4 million in total gifts the Butchers have made on behalf of CU-Boulder biotechnology.
"I would love this to become an internationally recognized center for biotech. I think you have the perfect ingredients," Jane Butcher said. "Charlie was a big thinker, and he thought CU was the place this should all happen."
In collaboration with Jane's gift, industry pioneer Larry Gold – a biology professor at CU-Boulder since 1970 and current CEO of biotech firm SomaLogic – is directing a previously undesignated gift toward the Biotechnology Building in honor of Charlie Butcher. In recognition of these gifts, the building's auditorium and adjacent foyer will be named in honor of Jane and Charlie Butcher.
Gold met the Butchers in the early 1970s and became a lifelong friend of the couple. Gold remembers Charlie Butcher's flirtation with pursuing a doctorate in biology; though he did not enroll formally in a degree program, his passion led to volunteer work in the 1970s in the labs of Gold and David Hirsh, where their work led to pioneering discoveries.
"He did the work of someone who would have gotten a Ph.D. – he just loved learning," Gold said. "He was one of the world's great listeners. He had no need to remind you of the things he had done – but he did a lot of things."
Jane and Charlie Butcher have for years also been core supporters of the Conference on World Affairs, the annual CU-Boulder forum taking place in April.
The first phase of the 257,000-square-foot Jennie Smoly Caruthers Building is slated for completion in late 2011, and will house the university's Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology (CIMB), the department of chemical and biological engineering and the biochemistry division of the department of chemistry and biochemistry. The building has been instrumental in helping CIMB recruit a "dream team" of scientists and engineers led by CU-Boulder Distinguished Professor Thomas Cech, a 1989 Nobel laureate in chemistry and former president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI); and chief scientific officer and CU-Boulder Professor Leslie Leinwand, a biotech pioneer.
With this gift, more than $30 million in private support has been raised for the building, including a lead naming gift from CU-Boulder distinguished professor Marvin Caruthers. The balance of the funding for Phase I, budgeted at $146 million, is expected from additional private funding, as well as grants and sponsored research support.