Personal Giving Stories


A Bequest to Diversify Research

Dr. Howard Kaufman (’82 B.A.)

Dr. Howard Kaufman (’82 B.A.) has built a remarkable career, including developing life-saving cancer drugs and holding an endowed professorship. Hoping to help others achieve success, Kaufman is providing a gift in his trust to endow a faculty chair or professorship and support research. His generosity supports students and faculty like him in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).

“UIC brings in people who wouldn’t have had entrée to these topics. New people mean new ideas. Everyone is born with the potential for real talent, but not everyone has the means to develop it,” Kaufman says of the motivation behind his gift.

Raised in Chicago’s north suburbs, Kaufman chose to attend UIC because it was affordable and offered him a scholarship. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in chemistry, setting him on a path to advanced degrees and a research career. Kaufman developed two FDA-approved drugs, one of which, avelumab, was the first approved treatment for patients with a rare, often fatal, skin cancer.

Today, Kaufman is a lecturer at Harvard Medical School, a surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, and CEO of Ankyra Therapeutics, where he continues to develop new drug therapies to cure cancer.

“When I thought about how I got into this career, it really goes back to UIC,” says Kaufman. “I had a successful career, and I wanted to give back.”

He chose to give to UIC because it has one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation. Diversity creates new ideas and new ways of looking at a problem and that, Kaufman says, is how you change the world.


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