University Kidney Research Organization (UKRO) will honor University of Southern California (USC) Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Garrett, businessman and cancer research advocate Barry Hoeven, and philanthropist Lynda Oschin at its fifth gala dinner on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, at The Beverly Hilton. The evening will raise funds for the USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center at the Keck School of Medicine of USC (KSOM). Michael Feinstein will provide entertainment and Phillip Palmer, ABC7 Eyewitness News anchor, will emcee.

The USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center will be part of the Keck School of Medicine at USC and will focus on both basic and applied research to identify the causes of, improve upon existing treatments for, and—ultimately—find a cure for all forms of kidney disease.

At the gala, UKRO will present its award for Extraordinary Achievement in Academic Leadership to USC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Garrett. As the university’s second-ranking officer, Garrett is responsible for a sustained effort to hire cutting-edge faculty members, particularly in the fields of the neurosciences, the humanities and the social sciences. She has shown great commitment to invigorating the research capabilities and environment of the university.

“Provost Elizabeth Garrett has a tireless commitment to building the University of Southern California and to elevating its position in the pantheon of top American universities,” said UKRO President Kenneth Kleinberg, “not least through the school’s strategy of recruiting world-class talent for all academic and scientific disciplines. Together with USC President C. L. Max Nikias, Keck School of Medicine of USC Dean Carmen Puliafito, MD, MBA, Edward Crandall, PhD, MD, the Kenneth T. Norris Chair of Medicine, Hastings Foundation Professor in Medicine, and Chair, Department of Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine and Vito Campese, MD, Professor of Medicine and chief, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Keck School of Medicine. Garrett has strongly supported UKRO’s efforts to make kidney disease a true center of excellence at the Keck School of Medicine, and for this we and all who battle kidney disease are grateful beyond words.”

Barry Hoeven, founder and chairman of Westport Properties, Inc. and US Storage Centers, Inc. will receive UKRO’s Outstanding Achievement in Business and Industry Award. Hoeven is a cancer survivor and also founded Kure It Cancer Research. “Barry’s amazing ability to balance his achievements in the business world with his serious medical challenges is an inspiration to everyone afflicted with multiple health issues, including kidney disease,” Kleinberg noted. “Even from a hospital bed, he never stops raising money to fight kidney cancer. His indomitable spirit is truly remarkable and we are proud to recognize him on this occasion.”

Lynda Oschin, wife of the late Los Angeles businessman and philanthropist Samuel Oschin, is being honored for transformative philanthropy. She will be givenUKRO’s Spirit of Life Award for guiding the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation in making contributions that reflect the interests of her husband, the needs of the community, and her wish to inspire children to explore the wonders of the universe. “Lynda Oschin’s leadership of the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation represents the very best of enlightened philanthropy,” Kleinberg said. “The foundation’s transformational gifts include the establishment of the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and Outpatient Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai, the renovation of the Griffith Observatory —in recognition of Lynda’s late husband’s love of astronomy—and its enormous contribution to the California Science Center that brought the Space Shuttle Endeavour to Los Angeles. Lynda is a wonderful woman with a huge heart. The citizens of our city, region, and entire country are the beneficiaries of this significant record of selfless charitable giving to benefit public health and the advancement of science and education.”

University Kidney Research Organization, a registered public charity, supports medical research related to the prevention, treatment, and eradication of kidney disease. UKRO was founded by entertainment lawyer Kenneth Kleinberg, who in 1999 was diagnosed with a kidney ailment that to this day has no known cause. Eventually, Kleinberg’s kidneys failed to function and he was a dialysis patient for the next six years. While on dialysis, he enlisted the help of his physician, Vito M. Campese, M.D., professor of Medicine and chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, to form UKRO. (Campese also chairs UKRO’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Board.) Kleinberg received a successful kidney transplant in 2007.

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