A $35 million gift from K. Lisa Yang ’74, a Cornell Board of Trustees member and a lifetime member of the Cornell University Council, will endow the Cornell K. Lisa Yang Center for Wildlife Health, previously referred to as the Cornell Wildlife Health Center.
Founded in 2020 and housed in the College of Veterinary Medicine, the center is a multidisciplinary collaboration that addresses conservation challenges at the intersection of wildlife, animal and environmental health.
Yang affirmed that endowing the center, which refers to donating money for the University to use over time for a specific purpose, has not just a financial benefit for the University but serves as a symbolic statement about the necessity for conservation efforts in a University press release.
“Supporting and endowing the Center for Wildlife Health helps send a message that wildlife and human life, conserving our natural environment and abiding by more mindful economic practices are critical if we are to leave a viable planet for our children,” Yang said.
Prof. Steven Osofsky DVM ’89, population medicine and diagnostic sciences, who leads the center, said the grant would be utilized towards promoting greater environmental stewardship efforts in the University press release.
“Our fundamental goal is to help humanity make more holistic, better-informed decisions, in terms of land- and ocean-use planning, public health policy and environmental conservation,” Osofsky said.
The funding will be used to support both new and existing programs. The new Cornell K. Lisa Yang Wildlife Health Fellows Program will establish 14 new roles for veterinarians, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students.
According to the University press release, Yang’s gift will also provide five years of support to the Cornell Wildlife Health Center Student Support Fund, which supports veterinary medicine students conducting research involving off-campus free-ranging and captive wildlife or on-campus research projects that could lead to publications or presentations at professional conferences.
In 2021, Yang’s prior $24 million gift established the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Yang was also the lead donor in the establishment of the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Employment and Disability Institute in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
President Martha Pollack thanked Yang for her generous contribution to the University’s sustainability efforts in the University press release.
“This investment in wildlife health and conservation will pay dividends that will compound over time, building the awareness and expertise that are critical for our shared future on this planet,” Pollack said.