INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Michael A. Evans, Ph.D. is a former Army Ranger who returned from Vietnam with life-threatening injuries. Through great medical care and strength of will, he endured to become a noted scientist. In 1990, he founded AIT Laboratories and quickly learned that running a business requires a different kind of strength and after a few years of trying, was on the verge of bankruptcy. In 2009, he transferred ownership of his company to his nearly 500 employees in an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), a move that set the stage for AIT to become an Indiana life sciences success story.
A year later, he made a gift and magnanimous pledge of $48 million to Marian University that would kick off the creation of a new medical school for Indiana. To honor his great act of stewardship, Marian University will name the new building on campus, which will house the College of Osteopathic Medicine and the School of Nursing, in his honor. The Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences, set to open in the fall of 2013, will be officially named in a ceremony on the university's campus at 5:15 p.m. today. Evans is the president and chief executive officer of AIT Laboratories in Indianapolis.
"Marian University has a deep passion to meet the needs of humanity, especially in the areas of healthcare and excellence in education," said Marian University's President, Daniel J. Elsener. "The magnanimous investment Dr. Evans had made will do much to provide the healthcare resources that are needed in Indiana, especially by those most vulnerable," he continued.
"This gift is not about having my name on a building. My investment is about the students who will walk out of this building in four years with the ability to treat families and improve their lives, which is the true gift," said Michael A. Evans, Ph.D.
First New Medical School in Indiana in Over 100 Years
In March 1903, William Lowe Bryan's proposal to establish a medical school at Indiana University was accepted. It would be 107 years before another medical school was proposed in Indiana, on January 15, 2010, by Marian University and the Indiana Osteopathic Association.
Hospitals and healthcare-related companies across Indiana have supported the university's development of a new medical school. Both St. Vincent Health and Community Health Network have given $5 million gifts; Michael G. Browning and Eli Lilly and Company Foundation have given $1 million; and Hill-Rom has given $1 million plus equipment.
"Clearly, Michael Evans has seized a once in a lifetime opportunity to help build a medical education facility in Indianapolis that will attract world-class faculty, researchers, and students. Eli Lilly and Company is proud to join so many of our community partners in support of this new and much needed medical school," said John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly and Company, Inc.
"Michael Evans has long understood Indiana's doctor shortage and the need for more highly educated healthcare workers," said Dr. Paul Evans, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. "Because of his involvement, we are creating an exceptional curriculum and a top-tier medical school that will attract top teaching and research faculty from across the country."
The building, designed by Indianapolis architects Schmidt and Associates and BSA LifeStructures, will cost $55 million when completed in 2013. It is part of a larger initiative that includes expansion of the university's library, science program, and related needs totaling $160 million. To date, the university has raised $82 million. University officials noted that the medical center is being funded entirely through private donations.
"As our recent report on the life sciences sector makes clear, Indianapolis is truly emerging as a national 'destination community' when it comes to the life sciences and healthcare," said BioCrossroads President and Chief Executive Officer David Johnson.
"I applaud Dan Elsener, Michael Evans, and Marian University for their vision and determination to create a college of osteopathic medicine in Indiana. With only 26 osteopathic medical schools across the nation, its innovative curriculum will doubtless play a significant role in training the next generation of osteopathic medical providers in this state and the nation," said Sen. Richard G. Lugar, the senior U.S. senator from Indiana.
The broad political support for this private project is notable. U.S. senator Dan Coats will speak at the ceremony today.
"Michael has played a significant role in making Indiana a national leader in the healthcare and life sciences field," said Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. "Now his tremendous generosity will allow future generations of Hoosiers to continue the pursuit of knowledge and excellence in this noble field."
"The City of Indianapolis is pleased that Michael Evans has taken the step to further strengthen the collaboration between Marian University and the near-west side," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. "This multi-million dollar investment creates yet another significant connection point between the city's extensive medical and research capabilities and the 16 Tech vision." Mayor Ballard will speak at the ceremony today.
About Marian University
Marian University (www.marian.edu) is the only Catholic liberal arts university in central Indiana. It is a private, co-educational school offering classes to both traditional and non-traditional students. Located two miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis, Marian University is a Catholic university dedicated to excellent teaching and learning in the Franciscan and liberal arts traditions. It is one of Indiana's 31 independent colleges, and one of 244 Catholic colleges and universities in the United States. On July 1, 2009, Marian College became Marian University. On May 4, 2011, Marian University received pre-accreditation status for a new medical school.
About Michael A. Evans, Ph.D.
To learn more about AIT Laboratories President and CEO Michael A. Evans, Ph.D. and AIT Laboratories, visit www.AITLabs.com.
SOURCE AIT Laboratories