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UI commemorates naming of Wynn Institute for Vision Research

University of Iowa President Sally Mason presided over the Oct. 18 naming ceremony for the UI Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research on the campus of the UI, one of the nation’s top public research universities.

The institute was renamed in honor of Wynn’s $25 million gift commitment, which has significantly accelerated the organization’s mission to prevent and cure blinding eye diseases that affect millions of people worldwide.

“The University of Iowa has the right team, combining interdisciplinary researchers across eight departments and four colleges, to make major progress toward curing blindness,” Mason says. “Mr. Wynn’s inspirational gift provides the resources that will help make finding treatments and cures a reality. We are proud that the Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research is an integral part of the UI.”

Wynn, chairman and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts, Limited, says, “As a person who knows firsthand what it is like to lose vision from a rare inherited eye disease, I want to do everything I can to help others who are similarly affected keep the vision they have and eventually get back what they have lost. I am thrilled by the pace of the scientific progress that has occurred in the past few years and I feel that the prospect of finding a cure is possible and probable in the short term and certain in the long term.”

“Philanthropic support, like Mr. Wynn’s generous gift, is very important to all aspects of academic medicine, but it is absolutely essential for developing treatments for ‘orphan’ disorders that occur in a few hundred people or less in the entire country,” says Edwin Stone, the Seamans-Hauser Chair of Molecular Ophthalmology and director of the UI Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research.

The dedication event also marked the naming of the Steven W. Dezii Translational Vision Research Facility, the only lab of its kind in the world completely dedicated to the production of gene- and cell-based therapeutics for the treatment of blinding eye diseases. The facility is named for Dezii, director of the Stephen A. Wynn Foundation, to honor his 30-year commitment to vision philanthropy.

“For three decades I have traveled the world to search out the most promising research on preventing, treating, and curing blindness,” Dezii says. “What I found at the University of Iowa was unique—both in the degree of focus on curing blindness and in the commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration with scientists all around the world.”

Story Source: UI Health Care Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room W319 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

Media Contact: Dana Larson, UI Foundation,