The UCLA Department of Urology has received a $4.6 million gift from the estate of Frank and Dorothy H. Clark, longtime benefactors who helped to create leading-edge pediatric and adult urology centers in Westwood and Santa Monica.
The gift, from the Clarks' testamentary trust, will help endow the Clark Urology Centers at UCLA's Westwood and Santa Monica campuses, said Dr. Mark Litwin, chair of the urology department.
"Frank was a tireless supporter of our faculty and programs in urology, and I am honored to have witnessed the relationship he forged with us," Litwin said. "This generous and unconditional gift, the first installment of Frank's bequest to the Clark Urological Center, will support the department's ongoing research, educational and clinical endeavors and is sure to inspire new innovations leading to improved treatments and, ultimately, cures for various urologic conditions."
In addition to supporting the Clark Urology Centers for adults in Santa Monica and Westwood, Clark played a critical role in the creation, in 1993, of the Clark Morrison Pediatric Urology Center, which enables UCLA to provide a comprehensive approach to the care of children with congenital conditions. The center's goal is to minimize a child's discomfort and stress while streamlining the diagnostic and treatment process.
"These are shining examples of how, throughout his life, Frank remained an invaluable advocate and adviser to our department, as well as a consummate supporter of the university," Litwin said.
A UCLA alumnus, Frank Clark attended Hastings College of the Law but was called to active military duty in 1941, after Pearl Harbor was attacked. He served five years in the Office of Naval Intelligence and returned to Hastings after his discharge, graduating in 1946 as valedictorian. He served as executive vice president and general counsel to the May Department Store Co. for more than 25 years.
In 1980, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Clark to the University of California Board of Regents, on which he served for more than 20 years, including a stint as its chair. In 2004, he received the UCLA Medal, the university's highest honor awarded to an individual.
When Clark died in 2008 at the age 90, his planned gift was set into motion. Dorothy Clark was well taken care of, but when she died in 2011, the majority of his remaining estate was bequeathed to the urology department.
A gift of similar size will be made to the department next year, Litwin said.
UCLA Urology consistently ranks among the top five in the nation the annual survey published by U.S. News & World Report. The department also has ranked first in competitive research funding from the National Institutes of Health for the last two years. The department focuses on translational research — bringing the best basic science from the laboratory bench to the bedside to the community.