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Stern family gives $6 million to UC College of Medicine

Trust will endow three chairs

By Katy Cosse

A $6 million gift from the estate of Cincinnati family Mary and Joseph S. Stern Jr. will create three endowed chairs within the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. This momentous gift for the department will create chair positions, pending approval by the UC Board of Trustees, supporting faculty excellence in research, clinical care and academic leadership: 

  • The Mary S. and Joseph S. Stern Jr. Endowed Chair in Musculoskeletal Research supports an associate professor or professor in the department focusing on basic science research.
  • The Joseph S. Stern Jr. Endowed Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery supports a professor with significant experience in clinical care and leadership in the field.
  • The Mary S. Stern Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery also supports a professor with significant experience in clinical care and leadership in the field.

“As a university, we are honored to have such supportive friends in the Stern family,” said UC President Neville Pinto. “Their generosity means so much to us and will make a tremendous impact on our faculty, whose work is critical to the future of our university’s mission to provide medical education, innovative research and health care."

“Support for research and clinical care allows our physicians to pursue the breakthroughs of the future and to provide the latest in evidence-based care today," said Richard Lofgren, MD, president and CEO of UC Health. "This generous gift will provide more discovery, more innovative leadership and, ultimately, more hope for patients in Cincinnati and beyond.”

The forward-thinking generosity exhibited by Mary and Joseph Stern is deeply moving to those us of in academic medicine.

Andrew Filak Jr., MD interim senior vice president for health affairs and interim dean, UC College of Medicine

A prominent local couple, Mary and Joseph Stern had long-standing interests in Cincinnati’s major institutions, including the arts, literacy and health care. Joseph passed away in 2010, and Mary died in June of 2018.

Their son, Peter Stern, MD, is the Norman S. and Elizabeth C.A. Hill Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Division of Hand Surgery and a surgeon with UC Health.   

Stern, an internationally recognized hand surgeon, served as chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery for 21 years. He said he believes his work sparked his father’s interest in supporting academic medicine and the department in which he had made his career. 

“My father was an extremely generous person who cared deeply about Cincinnati,” says Stern. “I think he would be very pleased if he knew his wise investing has afforded three chairs rather than a single position.” 

“The forward-thinking generosity exhibited by Mary and Joseph Stern is deeply moving to those us of in academic medicine,” said Andrew Filak Jr., MD, interim senior vice president for health affairs and dean, UC College of Medicine. “Their desire to create ongoing support for faculty positions will allow our physicians and scientists at UC to drive medicine and patient care for years to come.”

Including gifts made by both Mary and Joseph Stern, and Peter Stern, the Stern family has supported a total of four chair positions to the department, says Michael Archdeacon, MD, the department chair and holder of the Peter J. Stern endowed professorship. Archdeacon says this level of contribution from a single family to the college and the department is extraordinary. 

“These chair positions will have a tremendous impact on our department,” he adds. “These endowments provide sustaining support for pivotal translational research and clinical leadership. They will allow us to broaden the scope of our work in basic research and medical education as well as continuously improve musculoskeletal patient care in the Cincinnati community. These elements were incredibly important to the Stern family, and we are deeply grateful for their generosity.”