The latest University of Louisville campus property will be located at Fifth and Muhammad Ali streets (Artist concept).

Christina Brown with a $47 million gift to UofL, largest ever

This is huge, folks, another Brown family coming through for the University of Louisville.

Cristina Brown delivers for the University of Louisville.

Thanks to a mega-million gift from Christina Brown, the University of Louisville is creating a new campus in downtown Louisville to be known as the UofL Envirome Institute – New Vision of Health Campus, where study will focus on health as a shared community resource, incorporating environmental and cultural factors

Brown is providing $30 million over 20 years and is giving rent-free use of the renovated buildings to the university, equating to a $17-million in-kind donation. In a special meeting earlier today, the UofL Board of Trustees approved a lease granting UofL use of the property, which is owned by Brown. The university plans to seek additional partnerships and financial support for the campus and its mission.

The campus will be both a world-class research center and a nexus for community engagement, spawning citizen scientists and making health equity everyone’s pursuit. It will consist of two historic buildings on West Muhammad Ali Boulevard totaling 133,000 square feet and an adjacent garden space.

“We are incredibly grateful to Mrs. Brown for this generous gift of support and this special space in the heart of the city,” said Lori Stewart Gonzalez, interim president of UofL. “On this new campus, UofL researchers will increase our understanding of the many aspects of our environment that contribute to optimum health for everyone, here and beyond. It embodies our commitment to health equity.”

“To grow from our past and promote long, fulfilling lives, we shouldn’t chase any single cause. We live in a complex, interdependent world where history is our shared legacy and health is our shared aspiration,” Brown said. “By honestly recognizing our common stories, we can frame a new vision of health which unifies us. It can inspire healthier lives, healthier communities and a healthier world.”

The New Vision of Health Campus will include specially designed laboratories and offices that will engage researchers and community members to learn how natural, cultural and personal environments impact health. Institute researchers work with community partners to discover how to build healthier cities, creating insights and models to improve health in Louisville and around the world.

The research will be directed by Aruni Bhatnagar, director of the UofL Envirome Institute, professor of medicine and chief of the UofL Division of Environmental Medicine.

Owsley Brown Frazier donated $25 million to UofL in 2011.

“Our quest is to pursue the new vision that health is a resource that needs to be cultivated through conducive physical and environmental conditions,” Bhatnagar said. “Health is more than the absence of disease. Health is a resilience that helps individuals withstand all forms of stress. We want to move the discussion of health away from disease and instead focus on actively promoting health before disease occurs.”

Cristina Brown is the widow of H. Lee Brown, former CEO of Brown-Forman Corporation. The gift is the single largest philanthropic gift in the university’s history, surpassing a $25 million gift from Owsley Brown Frazier in 2011.
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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.