Eli Broad has been called a “patron of Los Angeles.” For decades, he has been one of the city’s foremost civic and philanthropic leaders. Advocating causes ranging from public education to the arts, from life sciences research to a revitalized city center, Broad has been a galvanizing force for our communities. In 2007 the Caltech Board of Trustees elected Eli Broad a “Life Member” in recognition of his long-term commitment to the Institute and the leadership he provided while serving on the Caltech board since 1993.
With this latest gift to Caltech, Eli and Edythe Broad are recognizing the legacy of a scientist who has contributed widely to the understanding of cancer, AIDS, and the molecular basis of the immune response.
“David Baltimore has been an extraordinarily influential scientist and academic leader, who has helped shape modern biology, national science policy, and Caltech,” says President Thomas F. Rosenbaum, holder of the Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and professor of physics. “This new chair, named in his honor, commemorates Eli and Edye Broad’s relationship with David and the Institute. It will enrich the intellectual life of Caltech for generations of scholars to come.”
Committing to Philanthropy
Raised in Detroit, Eli and Edythe Broad married in 1954. Eli Broad had graduated cum laude from Michigan State University and worked as an accountant before beginning an entrepreneurial career during which he would build two Fortune 500 companies from the ground up.
He cofounded Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation (now KB Home) in 1957, and six years later moved his family and the company headquarters to Los Angeles. Here, he bought the Baltimore-based Sun Life Insurance Company and transformed it into Southern California’s own SunAmerica, a retirement-savings giant.
In the late 1990s, the Broads changed course, dedicating their lives to philanthropy full-time. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, established in 1999, is devoted to advancing the public good in education, science, and the arts. The foundation has invested more than $800 million in science enterprises alone—including $42 million in gifts to Caltech—with a focus on biological and biomedical research.
The couple also created The Broad Art Foundation, which is housed at their namesake museum—The Broad—in downtown Los Angeles. Since 1984, The Broad Art Foundation has operated a “lending library” that loans artworks from its expansive collection to museums and university galleries around the world.
In 2010, Eli and Edythe Broad became two of the first signatories of the Giving Pledge—a commitment by the world’s most affluent individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. The Broads promised to give away 75 percent of their wealth.
Inspiring a Lasting Connection to Science
Eli and Edythe Broad met David Baltimore shortly after he was recruited to serve as Caltech’s seventh president in 1997. By then, Baltimore had already won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He received the prize at age 37—shared with former Caltech faculty member Renato Dulbecco and alumnus Howard Temin (PhD ’60)—for discoveries that elucidated mechanisms of viral replication and changed our understanding of the flow of biological information.
Under Baltimore’s leadership, Caltech made great strides in many areas—including, significantly, the life sciences. The $111 million Biological Sciences Initiative (1998–2001) bolstered interdisciplinary life sciences research at the Institute with new professorships and faculty appointments, fellowships, and research programs.
The physical cornerstone of the initiative was the Broad Center for the Biological Sciences, made possible by a lead gift of $18 million from The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. The building, opened in 2002, houses research groups working in areas such as structural, behavioral, and computational biology. It also contains state-of-the-art facilities for electron microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging used by investigators campus-wide.
Recent advances by researchers at the Broad Center range from showing how people with autism interpret images and social cues differently than others do to capturing close-up views of how different types of bacteria propel themselves through their environments.
About this latest gift to Caltech, Eli Broad says: “Edye and I have been fortunate to know David Baltimore for more than 20 years, and he has never failed to inspire us with his passion for science and his dedication to the next generation of great minds. We are delighted to endow a chair that will honor Dr. Baltimore’s lifelong mission of advancing the study of life sciences.”
Celebrating a Legacy of Pathbreaking Discovery
David Baltimore is an accomplished investigator, educator, administrator, and public advocate for science and engineering. Today, he and his team at Caltech focus on basic research into the development and function of the mammalian immune system and on translational studies aimed at helping the immune system resist cancer growth.
In the public-policy realm, Baltimore has influenced national science policies on issues such as recombinant DNA research and the AIDS epidemic. He also played a role in establishing the U.S. government’s guidelines on the Human Genome Project.
He has contributed to the development of American biotechnology as well, launching startups, serving on company boards, and licensing intellectual property rights.
Among many other honors, Baltimore won the National Medal of Science in 1999. He sits on the boards of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
The Broads’ creation of the David Baltimore Professorship was announced at Baltimore’s 80th birthday celebration, a day-long scientific symposium and gathering of colleagues, former students, and other friends at Caltech on March 23. The event was co-organized by Baltimore’s wife, Alice S. Huang.