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TMCNet:  Former Jaguars owners Wayne and Delores Weaver donate $7 million to Mayo Clinic

[September 05, 2012]

Former Jaguars owners Wayne and Delores Weaver donate $7 million to Mayo Clinic

Sep 05, 2012 (The Florida Times-Union - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Wayne and Delores Weaver have donated $7 million to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville for a new simulation center.

In the simulation center, which will bear the Weavers' name, doctors and their surgical teams can perform surgery on computerized robots, said David Thiel, a urologist who is medical director of the center. This will allow them to refine medical procedures without having to operate on actual humans.

Thiel noted that even back in 1927, William Mayo, a surgeon and cofounder of the Mayo Clinic, had said, "There is no excuse today for the surgeon to learn on the patient." "But until recently, we haven't had the technology to do realistic simulation," Thiel said.

William Rupp, CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida, compared what happens in a simulation center to what happens on the Jacksonville Jaguars practice fields. Now surgical teams will be able "to work as a team [in the simulation center] and then go watch the film," he said.

Delores Weaver said she and her husband "were blown away" when they first toured Mayo's simulation center last year and saw the latest robotic technology. They were determined to help create a "much larger simulation center," she said.

That they did. The 9,600-square-foot center, which will open early next year, will replace a 2,600-square-foot simulation center that opened in April 2011. And it could be expanded to 18,000 square feet.

"We're just honored to be a small part of this," Wayne Weaver said. "It really is a huge advancement in medicine." Now that they no longer own the Jaguars, Wayne Weaver said he's "enjoying Jaguars games more. I'm not sitting there tensely on the edge of my seat." And while they may be less visible to the public than they once were, Weaver said they intend to stay involved in the community.

"This is our home," he said. "We want to publicly support the community." Mayo's simulation center is not Jacksonville's first. The University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville operates a 24,000 square foot simulation center in what used to be Methodist Medical Center.

Charlie Patton: (904) 359-4413 LARGE DONATIONS The $7 million that Wayne and Delores Weaver are giving to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville to establish a new medical simulation center is a large, impressive number. But it's not close to the largest gift ever bestowed by a Jacksonville philanthropist. It's not even the largest gift the Weavers have ever made.

In 2007, Jaguars owners the Weavers donated $21 million to the Community Foundation, which distributed the funds to 38 Northeast Florida nonprofit organizations. Altogether, the Weavers have given away more than $50 million since 1993. That total doesn't include the more than $15 million given away by the Jaguars Foundation.

Other major gifts by Jacksonville philanthropists in recent years include: -- In 2004, the Lucy Gooding Charitable Foundation Trust gave $25 million to the Community Foundation. The trust has also made three gifts totaling $10 million to the Lucy Gooding Pediatric Neurosurgery Center at Wolfson Children's Hospital. Those gifts were made in 2005, 2009 and this year. Gooding, who died in 2002, was the widow of an Independent Life executive.

-- In 1998, Florence Davis, widow of Winn-Dixie founder J.E. Davis, arranged for her family to donate $20 million to Jacksonville University for its Davis College of Business building.

-- In 2003, the Winn-Dixie Foundation gave $2.5 million to the Jacksonville zoo, which was engaged in a $30 million campaign, about half of which went to the Range of the Jaguar exhibit. Other gifts to that campaign included $3 million from the Weavers, $2 million from Ann and Ted Baker of Florida Rock Industries and $1 million from Betty and Tom Petway of Zurich Insurance Services.

-- In 2009, Jerry Davis, a Jacksonville businessman, and his wife, Judy, both cancer survivors, donated $21 million to the University of Florida's cancer program. Of that, $20 million created the Jerry W. and Judith S. Davis Cancer Endowment to support teaching, research and other programs at the UF-Shands Cancer Center. Previous gifts brought the Davis's total donation to UF-Shands to more than $30 million.

-- Michael Ward, CEO of CSX, and his wife, Kimberly, have made several gifts of $1 million or more. These include $2.5 million to Hubbard House in 2006; another $1 million to Hubbard House in 2011; $1 million to Edward Waters College this year; and $1 million to the Wounded Warrior Project in 2008.

___ (c)2012 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.) Visit The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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