The gifts from the Boler and Parseghian families will create an endowment for the center, which is home to researchers working to develop lifesaving treatments for rare diseases such as cystic fibrosis, thalassemia, Niemann-Pick Type C, and several rare forms of cancer, as well as a number of neglected diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, and lymphatic filariasis. Established in 2009, the center, which will be renamed the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases, includes faculty from the university's College of Science, College of Engineering, College of Arts and Letters, and Center for Social Concerns.
The gift from the Boler family was made by Matthew and Christine Boler, Matthew's sister Jill Boler McCormack, and Jill's husband, Dan. A Notre Dame alumnus, Matthew Boler is president and CEO of the Boler Company, an automotive systems manufacturing company, and a member of the Notre Dame undergraduate experience advisory council. Christine Boler is a registered nurse. Jill McCormack, a Notre Dame alumna, is a member of the university's College of Science advisory council. The McCormacks are both veterinarians in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and two of their four children are current Notre Dame students.
Dr. Michael and Cindy Parseghian established the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation to support research on treatments and/or a cure for Niemann-Pick Type C disease, the genetic disorder that has taken the lives of three of their four children. Michael Parseghian, the son of legendary Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian, is an orthopedic surgeon in Tucson, Arizona, and a member of the university's College of Science advisory council. Cindy Parseghian is president of the research foundation and a member of Notre Dame’s board of trustees. Both are graduates of Notre Dame.
"The Boler and Parseghian families have been valued members of the Notre Dame family for many years, and we are tremendously grateful to them for their generosity," said the university's president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins. "The work of this center to find cures and therapies for those who suffer from rare and neglected diseases aligns perfectly with our institutional goal to use our research capabilities to make a genuine difference in the world."