Longtime USC benefactors Gayle and Edward Roski have made a landmark $25 million gift to endow and name the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute at Keck Medicine of USC, reflecting the institute’s position as one of the nation’s leading centers for advanced vision care, research and education.
The Roskis’ gift will support USC’s initiatives to preserve, restore and improve the sight of patients in Southern California and worldwide. By propelling discovery of new knowledge and furthering the education of tomorrow’s leaders in ophthalmology, the gift will enable the USC Roski Eye Institute to continue its powerful influence on vision care, research and education across the world. It also will advance Keck Medicine of USC’s position as a leader and innovator in the global human health revolution.
The couple’s roots at USC run deep. Edward Roski and Gayle Garner Roski met their first year on campus as undergrad students at the University of Southern California. Ten years ago, the USC Gayle Garner Roski School of Art and Design was named in recognition of the couple’s transformative gift. Their support of the USC family also include notable gifts to the USC Marshall School of Business and athletics programs at USC.
This latest generous gift takes on special meaning because of the couple’s own experiences: Gayle Garner Roski, a plein-air watercolorist, received cataract treatment at USC Roski Eye Institute. The procedure dramatically improved her ability to see color and light values. After the surgery she realized how her vision, blurred and darkened by cataracts, had affected her paintings and changed how she used color. The Roskis now hope to help others suffering from vision loss or impairment.
“Gayle and Ed Roski stand among USC’s most treasured friends,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias, PhD. “Generations from now, our community will continue to learn about this extraordinary couple and their enduring contributions to our university. With this most recent gift, the Roskis build beautifully on their already impressive legacy, while widening the scope of their remarkable philanthropy.”
The USC Roski Eye Institute traces its roots to the founding of USC’s ophthalmology department in 1974. Its 60 faculty members have received international acclaim for their contributions to vision research, including the world’s most widely used glaucoma implant and the development of optical coherence tomography, a non-invasive imaging technique used to diagnose glaucoma, macular degeneration and other conditions. Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, who also holds the Grace and Emery Beardsley Chair in Ophthalmology and is president of USC Care Medical Group, is a recognized expert in glaucoma and has led the nation’s most influential studies on eye health in minority and vulnerable communities for the past 20 years.
“As an artist, the most important thing to me is my eyesight,” Gayle Roski said. “Imagine having a yellow lens due to cataracts over your eyes all the time, and then having it removed. The improvement was amazing, and our hope is that this gift helps other people improve their vision.”
Ed Roski said he and his wife are honored to help the institute grow and expand: “Sight is so profoundly important, and we feel fortunate to be in a place where we can help bring the institute to the next level.”