An $8.5 million gift by Michael and Marian Ilitch, owners of the Little Caesar’s pizza chain and Detroit Red Wings, to the Department of Surgery at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine is being called a “transformative investment.”
The unrestricted fund will support research and development in surgical technologies, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“Their commitment will continue the department’s legacy of achievement,” Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said. “It will also advance research, which will inform the future of surgery and position Wayne State as a leader in health-care innovation.”
The university will rename the university’s Department of Surgery in their honor, calling it the Michael and Marian Ilitch Department of Surgery.
Michael Ilitch said the gift is “an investment in the future of health care that will support a great educational institution and benefit the people of Detroit, the state of Michigan and beyond.”
“This gift is also about advancing Detroit as a center for healthcare innovation,” Marian Ilitch said. “Our community is rightfully proud of Detroit’s growing reputation as a center for high-tech health care. We are happy that our gift will help spur even more local innovation in this field, while attracting new people, companies, and jobs to Detroit and Southeast Michigan.”
The Ilitches, who live in Bingham Farms, are worth an estimated $3.7 billion, Forbes said, ranking No. 157 on the Forbes 400, a list of America’s wealthiest residents.