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Indiana University Says Goodbye to Philanthropist and Visionary Marilyn Glick

March 23, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marilyn Glick, who with her husband Eugene, supported vision research, clinical care and education by providing the foundation for the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute, will long be remembered for her dream to place Indiana University at the forefront of vision research.

Mrs. Glick, 90, died Friday at her home.

“The entire Indiana University community is experiencing a great loss today with the passing of Mrs. Glick,” said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. “She led her life by example, finding solutions to problems and challenges that would clearly make the world a better place, and a place that could be seen and enjoyed by all. Our sympathies are extended to her life’s partner, her husband, Gene, and her family.”

The Glicks’ gift of $30 million to Indiana University allowed the creation of an endowment and provided the support necessary for the creation of the Glick Eye Institute, a 77,000-square-foot building that provides clinical space, research labs, educational opportunities, and an administrative home for the Department of Ophthalmology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The gift that allowed for the development of the Glick Eye Institute was the capstone of the couples’ philanthropy and the culmination of Mrs. Glick’s longstanding interest in vision care and the prevention of blindness.

“It was her wish, indeed, her directive, that cures for blindness and treatments for vision threatening diseases happen at Indiana University and in this building,” said Louis B. Cantor, M.D., chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology. “She knew that she would not live to see the benefits of this work, but that was her challenge to us. It was something very personal to her, and something directed very much from her heart.”

Dr. Cantor, who has known Mrs. Glick for many years, said,” Her philanthropic spirit was part of her DNA. It was who she was.”

 “One of the great privileges my wife Stephanie and I have had in our lives, both professional and personal, was to get to know and become friends with Marilyn, a truly remarkable woman from the multiple perspectives of accomplishment, warmth, caring, and generosity of spirit. Our lives and those of many in Indianapolis and beyond are the better for Marilyn whose impact will be felt for many generations to come. We extend our sympathies to her husband Gene and their family,” said D. Craig Brater, M.D., dean of the IU School of Medicine and vice president of university clinical affairs.

Mrs. Glick was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from IU in 2011 for her continued advocacy for the university researchers and physicians who work to treat and prevent eye diseases. She and Mr. Glick received Indiana University President’s Medals for their generous contribution that led to the building of the eye institute that bears their name. They both have been recognized as a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest honor bestowed by a governor of Indiana.

“We are ever so grateful to the Glicks for their generous support and unwavering faith in Indiana University,” said President McRobbie. “The burden is now at our feet, to follow Mrs. Glick’s challenge and put these tremendous resources to work. IU is committed to making her dreams come true with announcements of breakthroughs in vision research from the Glick Eye Institute.”

Mrs. Glick’s interest in philanthropy began at an early age, when as a seven-year-old school girl she collected funds to plant trees in Israel. “She made the headlines in the Jewish newspapers in her hometown of Detroit for raising the most money for this cause,” Dr. Cantor said. “It was the beginning of her way of life and the first of many contributions she made to better the world.”

Mr. and Mrs. Glick started what is now the Gene B. Glick Company, one of the largest privately held real estate development firms in the country. The couple began the home-building business after World War II and later began developing apartment communities.

The Glicks also supported numerous programs to serve the greater Indianapolis community, including the Indiana Authors Award at the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Foundation and Pro 100, a leadership program for underprivileged youth. Through their leadership and support, the city of Indianapolis and the Central Indiana Community Foundation created the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Eugene and Marilyn Glick. The trail also features the Glick Peace Walk. The Indiana Historical Society named its new headquarters on the Indianapolis Central Canal after the Glicks in recognition of their gifts to the organization.

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