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July 19, 2001
Vol. 31, No.1

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By Kevin Fitzsimons

Michael Moritz, center, shakes hands with Law Dean Gregory Williams during a June 29 Board of Trustees presentation on his $30 million gift to the University. At left are Vice President for Development Jerry May and Moritz's wife, Lou Ann.

$30M gift is largest single donation to OSU

College of Law is named for Moritz

In the largest single gift ever made to the University -- and perhaps the largest ever cash gift to a U.S. law school -- a Columbus attorney will donate $30 million to the Ohio State College of Law to provide student scholarships, enhance the college's support for faculty programs, and support its efforts to become one of the nation's top 10 public law schools.

Michael E. Moritz, of Dublin, is a partner in the Columbus law firm Baker & Hostetler and a former director of Cardinal Health Inc. He also is a dual Ohio State graduate: B.S., business administration, 1958; and J.D., 1961, graduating at the top of his law class.

"By funding programs to enhance faculty chairs, scholarships, and the Dean's Fund, we will continue the legacy that Dean (Gregory H.) Williams is leaving to Ohio State," Moritz said. "Ohio State has the potential to become a top-10 law school, public or private. With targeted resources that help to attract true leaders in both faculty and students, we can make a good school a great one."

Williams, who has led the law school since 1993 and has directed its impressive movement in both national rankings and fund raising, will become president of the City College of the University of New York (CUNY) this summer. The Ohio State Board of Trustees on June 29 approved the appointment of Nancy Hardin Rogers to replace Williams, effective Aug. 1 (see story, June 21 onCampus).

President Brit Kirwan praised Moritz's generosity as "truly exceptional." In recognition of Moritz's distinguished career as an attorney, his longtime support of Ohio State and his ongoing advocacy for the College of Law, the school has been named the Michael E. Moritz College of Law.

"We are enormously grateful to Mike Moritz. Gifts of this scope and magnitude are rare anywhere in higher education," Kirwan said. "Ohio State's College of Law is already highly ranked and is poised to enter the very top tier of law schools nationwide. Mike's truly exceptional generosity at this crucial point will have a profound impact on the college that will bear his name, and it will significantly advance the top-tier aspirations of the entire University."

Williams said that Moritz's donation will transform the law school. "Through his gift, Mike Moritz joins us in laying the foundation for an incredible future," he said. "This gift will allow us to attract top students while recruiting and retaining some of the nation's leading law professors. We are grateful for his support of our educational efforts."

The gift creates the Michael E. Moritz Merit Scholars Program, which will provide full tuition and a stipend to 30 Ohio State law students; finances leadership awards to three students each year; and establishes four endowed faculty chairs:

  • The Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, named in recognition of Moritz's high regard for Williams.
  • The Michael E. Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution; incoming dean Rogers was appointed to hold this chair.
  • The Frank R. Strong Chair in Law. Strong, of Prairie Village, Kan., was dean of the college from 1952 to 1965.
  • The Robert J. Lynn Chair in Law. Lynn, of Columbus, earned his J.D. degree from Ohio State in 1949 and was a faculty member at the college from 1951 to 1989.

In addition, the gift creates the Gregory H. Williams Dean's Fund for Excellence, also named for Williams. The annual interest income from this endowed fund will enable the college to capitalize upon emerging new trends, opportunities and priorities.

Robert M. Duncan, a University trustee and a 1952 law school graduate, is a longtime friend of Moritz's. "It is a complete joy to know that this gift comes from a person who stands for quality and excellence -- just as the college does," Duncan said. "He was not only an outstanding student, but also has reached the top of his profession."

Moritz has distinguished himself through his success in the legal profession, his work in the business community and his service in civic circles. After graduating at the top of his class, he received the second highest score on the Ohio Bar Exam in 1961. He has been a partner at Baker & Hostetler since 1980, when it merged with his firm, Moritz, McClure, Hughes, & Kerscher. In addition to Cardinal Health, he has been a director for Pharmacy Systems Inc. and the Pickett Hotel Co. He has served as president of the Capital City Young Republicans Club, trustee of the Kenyon Festival Theatre and commissioner of the Ohio Elections Commission. At Ohio State, he has served as a director of The Ohio State University Foundation since 1990 and on the Max M. Fisher College of Business Campaign Committee since 1994.

Moritz's long and generous history of giving to Ohio State includes support of the Fisher College of Business (including creation of the Moritz Family MBA Scholarship), the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Department of Athletics and WOSU Stations, in addition to the College of Law.

This most recent gift is part of ongoing fund-raising efforts in support of the Academic Plan following the success of the University's $1.23 billion "Affirm Thy Friendship" campaign. As was true for 99 percent of the private gifts received during that campaign, Moritz's gift was designated, by its donor, to support specific projects and is not available for other purposes.

Gates is director of communications for the College of Law; Wente is proposals manager for Development Communications.

Top individual gifts to the University by amount

Michael Moritz: $30 million

Leslie H. Wexner: $25 million

Max M. Fisher: $20 million

Richard J. Solove: $20 million

Jerome Schottenstein Family: $12.5 million

Davis Foundation: $10 million

Austin E. Knowlton: $10 million

Elizabeth M. "Libby" Ross: $10 million


Ohio State genome map reveals many additional probable genes

By Darrell E. Ward

A team of Ohio State genetics researchers has produced a third map of the human genome, this one containing twice the number of genes proposed by two earlier maps and providing annotations that explain the function of all 66,000 genes.

In February, teams of researchers from Celera Genomics, a private biotechnology firm, and counterparts from the Human Genome Project, the federally funded effort to map the genome, published their findings in the prestigious journals Science and Nature, respectively. The Ohio State report was published in early July on the Web site of the journal Genome Biology.

Both earlier reports proposed that the human genome consists of some 35,000 genes, far less than the estimate of 100,000 to 120,000 genes which researchers had long predicted.

The Ohio State effort, which involved a team of 13 researchers from the University and a bioinformatics company, adds a third major map of the human genome and may accelerate the use of the genome in the diagnosis and understanding of diseases.

"We ended up with a higher estimated number of genes than the other two teams because we compared 13 different gene databases to the DNA sequences in the draft genome produced by the Human Genome Project," said Bo Yuan, head of Ohio State's Division of Human Cancer Genetics bioinformatics group. Yuan led the project.

To help understand the process followed by Yuan and the other two teams, think of the genome as a copy of James Joyce's lengthy novel Ulysses. Each chromosome would be a chapter, each gene a sentence.

The draft version of the genome's DNA sequences that was assembled by scientists at the Human Genome Project would then resemble a copy of Ulysses that lacked all punctuation and spacing. Each of this book's chapters would consist of one long string of letters.

To identify the sentences in that long continuous string, scientists would turn to databases assembled by other researchers -- of complete or partial sentences. The scientists would then use computers to match the fragments from the databases to the string of letters in each and every chapter of the novel.

The genome map in Science and, particularly, the map in Nature relied mainly on only two databases to identify genes on their respective genome maps. The Ohio State researchers used these databases plus 11 others.

For example, the Ohio State researchers used a rodent gene database, which provided evidence for 1,437 possible genes in the human genome.

"We used more experimental evidence in assembling our map, and that suggests that there are probably between 65,000 and 75,000 transcriptional units," Yuan said.

The "transcriptional unit" Yuan refers to is a length of DNA that shows strong evidence of being a gene but which still requires future verification.

"Some researchers are unsettled by the certainty with which the Human Genome Consortium is presenting its lower gene count," said Fred Wright, assistant professor of human cancer genetics and lead author of the paper.

"In my view, the final number of genes -- when it is known -- will lie somewhere between their high of 40,000 and our value of 70,000."

The Ohio State map would have taken far longer to assemble without the help of supercomputers at the Ohio Supercomputing Center. The work required four full weeks of supercomputing time. "Without that capability, the task would probably have taken at least a year," Yuan said.

"The computations involved millions of DNA sequences and were extremely time-consuming," Wright said. "One of the databases had over 2 million sequences, each of which had to be searched against the entire 2.8 billion base pairs in the genome draft. Figuring out where those 2 million sequences belonged was, by itself, a major computational task."

The Ohio State map also contains revealing information about tissue-specific genes, genes that are active in some tissues but not in others.

"This has important implications for biology and for disease mapping," Wright said. "Genes that are expressed everywhere in the body are probably more fundamentally important, so if they were defective, the person would probably be dead."

A defect in a gene that is tissue-specific, on the other hand, might leave the person otherwise healthy but with a disease only in that particular tissue.

For example, the OSU researchers found that five of 10 genes that are specific to the retina in the eye have been identified as involved in eye function. Furthermore, scientists have linked defects in four of these genes to certain eye diseases, he said, "and perhaps the fifth one as well."

While the remaining five genes are known to be active in the retina, their exact function remains unknown. "But they are probably important as well in how the eye functions, and when damaged, they may lead to eye disease," Wright said.

By knowing where these lesser-understood genes are located in the genome, researchers can investigate them further.





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