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CHOP Celebrates Naming of the Morgan Center for Research and Innovation

Published on June 4, 2024 in Cornerstone Blog · Last updated 1 month 2 weeks ago
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The Morgan Center for Research & Innovation beam signing ceremony

CHOP celebrated a transformational gift from the Morgan family with a beam signing in front of the Morgan Center for Research & Innovation, scheduled to open 2025.

By limjr [at] chop.edu (Jillian Rose Lim)

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia celebrated a philanthropic gift that gives its newest research hub, the Morgan Center for Research and Innovation, its name at a beam signing ceremony held under sunny skies June 3.

The building, under construction next to the Roberts Center for Pediatric Research, received its title following a transformational $50 million donation from Mitchell L. Morgan, Dr. Hilarie L. Morgan, and their family. The Morgans have supported CHOP in various ways for 40 years to advance pediatric research and healthcare in Philadelphia. The Morgan Center will uniquely accelerate team science and advance the bench-to-bedside strategy pursued passionately by CHOP.

Mitchell Morgan

Mitchell Morgan signs a steel beam at the Morgan Center beam signing ceremony.

At the event, attendees joined the Morgan family in the traditional builder's rite of signing their names on a steel beam to mark the progress and posterity of the new construction. The construction crew then raised and added the beam to the 17-story structure that is scheduled to open in 2025.

"We are honored that our gift, the Morgan Center for Research and Innovation, will enable CHOP to bolster the research and innovation spearheaded by the next generation of scientists and medical leaders," Mitchell Morgan said. "Our family understands the importance of giving back – we could not think of a better way to make a significant impact than our gift to CHOP."

Supported by this gift, the Morgan Center will elevate CHOP's research footprint by expanding its state-of-the-art laboratory and learning spaces, cultivating increased collaboration between wet and dry labs, and uniquely positioning CHOP Research Institute to recruit top scientific talent. Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at CHOP Susan Furth, MD, PhD, spoke about the significance that the Morgan family's gift will have for generations of children to come.

Dr. Furth at Morgan Center beam signing ceremony

Dr. Furth addresses attendees at the Morgan Center for Research & Innovation beam signing ceremony.

"As you can imagine, this day means so much to me," Dr. Furth said. "And I mean all my former selves — as a kid at age 10 with a curiosity for the future, a medical student, a pediatrician, and physician-scientist, and now, as a chief scientific officer, who can see the far-reaching impact that this building will have on children and families throughout the world. I'm thrilled to be here to celebrate this step forward, and this is indeed a historic moment for CHOP."

CHOP leaders, scientific investigators, and staff, as well as President and CEO of Wawa Chris Gheysens and City of Philadelphia Managing Director Adam Thiel, who also is co-chair of CHOP's Corporate Council, participated in the event. Thiel, who attended on behalf of Philadelphia's mayor, Cherelle Parker, expressed in his remarks the importance of building and bolstering relationships with healthcare providers and systems in the region.

Planning for the Morgan Center's design has been underway for two years, with faculty and individuals from Research Resources, Core Facilities, and Support Services meeting monthly to provide guidance. In October 2022, CHOP held a groundbreaking ceremony where leaders shared some highlights about the building's collaborative design.

The 350,000-square-foot facility will house scientific teams with a strong wet bench research focus, R01-funded laboratories, and graduate student and postdoctoral fellows. The building's layout will be flexible to accommodate the ever-evolving needs of scientific research. Some of its other design features include:

  • A three-dimensional imaging and printing center to discover how these modern technologies can best support research and clinical care
  • A unique "Platform Technology Laboratory Space" designed for teaching, demonstration, and technology development
  • Conference space that includes a 250-seat lecture hall and terrace
  • Co-location of wet labs, where researchers conduct biomedical and molecular studies with dry labs, where researchers analyze data sets, create computational tools, and develop new hypotheses for wet lab studies.

"The Morgan Center will be the epicenter for advances in immunology, infectious disease, neuroscience, and much more," said President and CEO of CHOP Madeline Bell. "I'm grateful to the Morgan family for sharing our mission and our vision with this gift."

Learn more about the Morgan family's deep-rooted connection to CHOP in the official press release.