As reported by The Hartford Courant, August 4, 2004.

Gift Goes for Cancer Research at UConn

By Grace E. Merritt

FARMINGTON -- A longtime UConn benefactor and his wife have donated $10 million to the UConn Health Center in hopes of making its cancer center one of the nation's elite.

Torrington natives Raymond and Carole Neag said their donation should allow the cancer center to recruit outstanding researchers and physicians and give state residents a cutting-edge cancer research and treatment center.

"You've got the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and [Memorial] Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. If you live in Connecticut and you want a signature program, you have to go to one or the other. We thought it would be nice for Connecticut to have one, too," Raymond Neag said Tuesday from his home outside Reading, Pa.

The $10 million gift, which is to be doubled through the state's matching gift program, is the largest donation in the Health Center's history. It was announced at a University of Connecticut board of trustees' meeting Tuesday.

Cancer center Director Carolyn Runowicz said the gift is a wonderful step toward making the center a signature institution.

"This will help us recruit outstanding physicians and researchers," she said.

The money will also likely be used to renovate labs and clinical space, buy new equipment and expand programs. She called the donation a beginning and said she hoped it would spur others to contribute.

The Health Center accounts for just 10.9 percent of the local market for cancer treatments now, compared to 39.1 percent for Hartford Hospital and 28.5 percent for St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, according to Runowicz.

Neag, who made his fortune as co-founder of Arrow International, a manufacturer of critical care and cardiac care products, lost his first wife, Lynn, to colon cancer.

Neag has been a longtime UConn benefactor. In 1999, he donated $23 million to UConn, the largest gift to a public university in New England at the time. The bulk of the gift, $21 million, was earmarked for the university's School of Education, and $2 million to the health center to establish a distinguished chair in vascular biology.

He said Tuesday that the new gift is a sequel and that he was motivated by the good his donation brought to the school, now called the Neag School of Education.

"I think it's brought a lot of distinction to the state. The school has gotten a lot of press and has moved up in the rankings," he said.