$1 Million Gift from an Alumnus Endows Professorship, Boosts Campaign Past $232 Million Mark

June 7, 2016

A gift of $1 million from an alumnus of the residency program at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has funded a new endowed professorship in pediatric ophthalmology as part of the comprehensive campaign to support the Medical Center.

Kiper Nelson, M.D., who completed his residency training in ophthalmology at Wake Forest Baptist in 2000, and his wife, Laura Lee Nelson, made the gift to endow the Laura Lee and Kiper C. Nelson, M.D., Professorship in Pediatric Ophthalmology.

Grey Weaver Jr., M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at the Wake Forest Baptist Eye Center, was honored as the first recipient of the Nelson Professorship during a ceremony on April 8.

“This donation will allow Wake Forest Baptist to continue to attract top-notch surgeons like Dr. Weaver to the program,” said Kiper Nelson, who is a surgeon with the Southern Eye Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. “He helped train me and played such an integral role in my development as a surgeon. I am so happy to have the opportunity to honor the energy and time Dr. Weaver and the Wake Forest Eye Center faculty invest in ophthalmology students.

“My wife and I have a genuine concern for children and are delighted to make a donation that benefits a cause near and dear to our hearts.”

Weaver is a 1977 alumnus of the Wake Forest School of Medicine. He joined the faculty in 1983 after completing his residency at the University of Iowa and a fellowship at Wake Forest Baptist.

“This endowed professorship lays the foundation for the future of pediatric ophthalmology at our Eye Center,” Weaver said. “I and whoever is in the position to receive it in the future will have the opportunity to commit ourselves fully to the care of pediatric ophthalmology patients and to research in the field.”

Craig Greven, M.D., chair and professor of ophthalmology at Wake Forest Baptist, said he and the Nelsons had discussed their giving priorities and their interest in supporting the Eye Center for years.

“Their generous donation to endow this professorship will impact the lives of children in our region in perpetuity,” Greven said. “The amazing thing about this gift is there are children with vision problems who are not even born yet who will benefit from this endowment. We are humbled by their generosity and will steward this endowed professorship in a way that will make the Nelson family proud.”

The gift helped increase Wake Forest Baptist’s comprehensive campaign total to more than $232 million, as of May 31.

Wake Forest Baptist is raising $350 million as part of a campaign to further its mission in patient care, education and research. Areas of focus for the campaign include cancer, aging and Alzheimer’s disease, children’s health, diabetes and obesity, heart and vascular, regenerative medicine and medical education.

The effort is part of Wake Will, the campaign for Wake Forest University, which has a goal of raising a combined $1 billion for the University and the Medical Center.

Media Relations

Mac Ingraham: mingraha@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-3487

Joe McCloskey: jmcclosk@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-1273