The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC on Friday announced it has received a $1 million gift from the William Jacob and Barbara Boyle Lemon family.
“If the institute achieves what we think it’s going to, it will continue to grow its impact and visibility as a recognized example for changing medical discovery worldwide. It’s going to have the potential to make medical breakthroughs that will benefit the world population,” William Lemon said in a news release. “We have a strong foundation at VTC, but need to continue to attract and retain top researchers.”
The Lemon family’s gift will be used to help to recruit and retain scientists as the institute undergoes an expansion that will double its size. The new building is scheduled to open in a year and will have about 400 additional scientists and staff working by 2027.
William Lemon is an attorney, veteran and philanthropist. The gift includes contributions from his and his late wife, Barbara's, children Sarah Ludwig, Tucker Lemon, and Stephen Lemon.
Recruitment for the new building's research teams began earlier this summer.
"The Lemon family's gift will help us competitively recruit and retain the very best people in immunology to advance the pace and impact of discovery and the translation of those discoveries to practice in the key health areas that we have targeted,” said Michael Friedlander, executive director of the institute and vice president for health sciences and technology at Virginia Tech.
In December Heywood and Cynthia Fralin and the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust gave the institute $50 million.
The amount was twice the size of Tech’s previous largest single donation, and Heywood Fralin said then that the size was meant to challenge himself, the trust and the community to step up and contribute because the research center has for the Roanoke Valley’s future.
Announcement of the Lemon family’s gift comes the morning after representatives of 20 local governments in the Roanoke and New River valleys and the Alleghany Highlands met at the research center to learn more about the economic impact and development arising from the partnership between Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic.