Casino Tycoon Stephen Wynn Makes $25M Gift to University of Iowa’s Institute for Vision Research

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AMES, Ia. – Casino owner Stephen Wynn made a $25 million gift commitment to the University of Iowa to support the UI’s Institute for Vision Research, the school announced last week. Wynn suffers from retinitis pigmentosa.

The gift will be used to accelerate progress toward cures for rare, inherited retinal diseases, the statement said. Wynn’s gift, which will be donated over five years, is among the 10 largest the University of Iowa Foundation has received.

“As a person who knows firsthand what it is like to lose vision from a rare inherited eye disease, I want to do everything I can to help others who are similarly affected keep the vision they have and eventually get back what they have lost,” said Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, Limited. “I am thrilled by the pace of the scientific progress that has occurred in the past few years and I feel that the prospect of finding a cure is possible and probable in the short term and certain in the long term.”

Wynn added, “The army of clinicians and scientists at the University of Iowa’s Institute for Vision Research have uncovered many of the secrets of the genome and are now on the cusp of applying them in the clinic. I never dreamed that I would witness such breakthroughs in my lifetime but the breakthroughs are now at hand.”

“Philanthropic support is very important to all aspects of academic medicine, but it is absolutely essential for developing treatments for ‘orphan’ disorders that occur in a few hundred people or less in the entire country,” said Dr. Edwin Stone, the Seamans-Hauser Chair of Molecular Ophthalmology and director of the Institute for Vision Research, which will be renamed the Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research. “Mr. Wynn’s generous gift will also help us maintain the very valuable collaborative relationships we have developed with other vision scientists around the world.”