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>  News Releases >   2007 >   September

Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center receive $20 million gift, largest gift to date

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 09/28/07 • Susan Knapp • (603) 646-3661

Peter and Susan Williamson of Lyme, N.H., have made a $20 million gift commitment to Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC). Their gift, the largest gift to the Medical School and the Medical Center, will help support their highest priorities.

Group photo
Dr. Peter Williamson and his wife, Susan Williamson, of Lyme, N.H. (far right) have made a $20 million gift commitment to Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), the largest gift to date to the Medical School and the Medical Center. The Williamsons were photographed at a DHMC event with their daughter Debbie Williamson (center), Nancy Formella, President of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Alliance, and Dartmouth College President James Wright. Dr. Williamson is a 1958 graduate of Dartmouth, and Debbie Williamson is a 1981 graduate of the College. (photo by Jon Gilbert Fox)

Peter Williamson, a professor of medicine in neurology at DMS and the founder and director of the Epilepsy Program at DHMC, has deep connections to Dartmouth. He is a member of the Class of 1958, and he and Susan are the parents of four children; two are Dartmouth graduates, Debbie (Class of 1981) and Doug (Class of 1985). Doug is also a 1993 graduate of DMS.

"I believe in the excellence of Dartmouth medicine and its ability to truly transform medicine. Susan and I feel this is exactly the right time to make a contribution of this magnitude to support the academic mission of DMS and hope this will inspire others to contribute as well," said Peter Williamson. "We must make this investment in our future, so we can continue to meet the challenges and expand our knowledge and our ability to care for patients. This is a pivotal moment for Dartmouth medicine and we are thrilled to be part of its future. The academic medical mission is every bit as important as the clinical mission. The research and teaching allows us to provide the very best care we are able to deliver to patients."

"I believe in the excellence of Dartmouth medicine and its ability to truly transform medicine. Susan and I feel this is exactly the right time to make a contribution of this magnitude to support the academic mission of DMS and hope this will inspire others to contribute as well."

- Peter Williamson

Peter is the Chair of the Transforming Medicine Campaign for Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. His $20 million gift commitment brings the campaign total raised to $190 million toward its $250 million goal. The Transforming Medicine Campaign is part of the $1.3 billion Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience currently underway.

"Peter Williamson has committed himself to Dartmouth medicine since day one, from serving as one of the founding members of the Medical School's Board of Overseers, to arranging for the first $1 million commitment to the school, to establishing a world class epilepsy center at the Medical Center to chairing the Transforming Medicine Campaign. Susan Williamson has been a full partner in the family's philanthropic work at Dartmouth, in the local community, and more broadly," said Dartmouth President James Wright. "Peter and Susan's latest generosity will have enormous impact for generations. This is a transformational gift for Dartmouth medicine and accelerates our ability to advance knowledge quickly and for the benefit of us all."

Stephen Spielberg, Dean of Dartmouth Medical School, said, "Through their generosity, Peter and Susan have given us tremendous power to capitalize on our greatest strengths. We are transforming the local, regional, and national environment for clinical and translational science and outcomes research, thereby increasing the efficiency and speed of translating new discoveries into benefit for patients."

Speaking on behalf of the Office of the Presidents at DHMC, Thomas A. Colacchio, president of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic, said, "Peter's commitment to world-class medical care is well-known to all of us at the Medical Center. This is a magnificent gesture from an individual who is sincerely passionate about medicine and providing excellent care for patients by creating new knowledge leading to better care."

The Williamsons have a long history of dedicated support of Dartmouth and DMS. Their previous giving includes a $1 million commitment toward the creation of the Alexander Garden Reeves, M.D., Professorship in Neurology in 2004.

Williamson is a world-renowned neurologist and epilepsy expert. He is board certified in psychiatry and neurology, and his clinical interests include seizures and epilepsy. After 20 years as Director of the Yale Epilepsy Program at Yale University, he returned to Dartmouth in 1991 to establish the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. In 2002, the American Epilepsy Society awarded him the J. Kiffin Penry Award for Excellence in Epilepsy Care. His many avocations include collecting vintage automobiles, and one of his antique cars won the "Best in Show" prize at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance 2003 vintage car show.

Susan Kettering Williamson is a 1959 graduate of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. She has served on Skidmore's Board of Trustees since 1973, and she received the Dennis B. Kemball-Cook award for exemplary service at Skidmore. She received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 1998 from Skidmore, and in 1999, the Surrey Williamson Inn on the Skidmore campus was named in her honor. Susan is also a volunteer at David's House, a home-away-from-home for children receiving treatment through the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth, also known as CHaD, and she has served on the David's House board.

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