School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Dryer Foundation gives $1M to support vision research at Kresge’s Ligon Research Center of Vision

The Ligon Research Center of Vision at the Kresge Eye Institute of Wayne State University has received a $1 million gift from the Edward T. and Ellen K. Dryer Foundation to establish an endowed professorship.

“The trustees of the Dryer Foundation are delighted to support groundbreaking research in the cure for blindness by establishing the Edward T. and Ellen K. Dryer Endowed Professorship in Vision and Blindness Research at Wayne State University,” said Jon B. Gandelot, a Grosse Pointe estate planning attorney who represented the Dryers for many years and now serves as president of the Dryer Foundation.

“The professorship will be awarded to a researcher who is making a significant contribution to artificial vision and restoring vision to the blind,” said Gary W. Abrams, M.D., director of the Kresge Eye Institute and the Ligon Research Center of Vision. “This will allow for the expansion of current research as well as the exploration of new research that has the potential to fight eye diseases and potentially cure blindness.”

“Supporting research to cure blindness would have pleased Edward and Ellen Dryer,” said Judith L. Drobot, a trustee for the foundation.

An executive in the banking industry, Edward Dryer and his wife, Ellen, were lifelong residents of Detroit. While traveling on business in New York, Mr. Dryer suddenly lost his sight and as a result, his job. He continued to follow the market by having his wife read to him daily from The Wall Street Journal and other financial publications. Dryer began investing in the stock market, and through a combination of savvy investment strategies and a modest lifestyle, his investments grew.

“The Dryers would have been very happy to know that their legacy will have a significant impact in sight-saving research,” said foundation Trustee Elizabeth Mower Gandelot.

Eleven years ago, the Dryers died within four months of each other. The Dryer Charitable Foundation was established in their name through their estate plan, with a mission to aid people who have limited sight and to aid research for the prevention of blindness.

“We are truly grateful for this generous gift to support blindness research at Kresge Eye Institute and the Ligon Research Center of Vision,” Dr. Abrams said.
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