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Updated 11:00 AM April 19, 2004



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Depression Center receives $10M gift,
will name building after Rachel Upjohn

The Depression Center has received a $10 million gift from Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Meader of Kalamazoo to support the construction of the nation's first building devoted primarily to research, clinical care, education, and community and public policy programs for depression and related disorders.

The gift is the largest received by the U-M Health System (UMHS) in several years. It follows previous support by the Meaders for the Depression Center, the Medical School's departments of Psychiatry and Ophthalmology, and other areas of U-M.

On April 22, U-M leaders will seek the approval of the Board of Regents to name the building that will house the center in honor of Mrs. Meader, whose maiden name was Rachel Mary Upjohn.

It's also the name of her grandmother, the first wife of Dr. William E. Upjohn, a Medical School alumnus in the late 19th century and the inventor of the first pill that dissolved easily in the human body. Dr. W.E. Upjohn co-founded, in Kalamazoo, with his brothers, the Upjohn Co., a pharmaceutical industry powerhouse of the 20th century.

If the regents approve the naming, the Rachel Upjohn Building will stand as a physical testament to the Meaders' longtime commitment to U-M and as a unifying location for the Depression Center's pioneering efforts to understand and fight depressive illnesses that affect more than 20 million Americans and their families.

"We are humbled by this expression of support for our progress in developing a dedicated center that focuses on depressive and bipolar illnesses," says Dr. John Greden, executive director of the Depression Center and chair of the Department of Psychiatry. "This is an outstandingly generous gift. Each day, we will honor the Meaders and their family through the innovation and discovery that this building will enable." Greden holds the Rachel Upjohn Professorship in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, endowed by the Meaders in 1997.

Mr. Meader, in a recent letter, wrote, "Dr. William Upjohn had the caring for humanity, the imagination, persistence and genius for organization which created for his employees, his family, his community a flow of wealth still reaching out across this nation immeasurably. One could wish he knew about the Depression Center."

Ground for the 112,500-square-foot building will be broken later this year, pending approval by the regents. They are being asked to vote on the building's architectural design at their April 22 meeting. The building also will house outpatient psychiatry and substance abuse programs, and will be conveniently located on UMHS's East Ann Arbor Properties, on Plymouth Road at Earhart Road.

Designed by Albert Kahn Associates, it is scheduled for completion in 2006 as part of a building project that includes site improvements and parking lot construction as well as the building. The building will connect with the East Ann Arbor Health Center.

In addition to the Meaders' naming gift, the Depression Center has received more than $6.5 million in other gifts and grants supporting the building's construction. This includes a $2 million gift from local business leader Phil Jenkins, a $500,000 gift from the FRIENDS of the University Hospitals and Health Centers, and a $4 million grant from the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health, to support the construction of the building's 45,433-gross-square-foot research area.

The Meaders' other gifts to the Department of Psychiatry have supported research on depression and related disorders. They endowed the Rachel Upjohn Clinical Scholars Award program, which supports research training of young investigators studying depressive illnesses, genetics and links to pain. They have funded Greden's research with a
$1 million gift. They also have supported other U-M units.

Eighteen U-M academic units, programs and institutes participate in the center's clinical, research and education efforts. Within UMHS, the Depression Center collaborates with 37 centers, programs and medical disciplines.

Related story:
$8M gift to fund new wing at Kelsey Museum>

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