INDIANAPOLIS—In a gesture that continues their family’s long history of extraordinary generosity to Indiana University, Carmel residents W. Gerald and Diane Throgmartin made gifts earlier this month totaling $1.5 million to support lung and prostate cancer research and cardiology research and education at Indiana University School of Medicine.
The Throgmartins’ generous gifts will support four separate funds:
- The Jackie O’Donnell Fellowship in Cardiac Transplantation honoring retired cardiologist Jackie O’Donnell, MD
- The Betty Jo Throgmartin Lung Cancer Research Fund named for Gerald’s late wife honoring oncologist Nasser Hanna, MD
- The Jeffrey Breall Fellowship in Interventional Cardiology honoring interventional cardiologist Jeffrey Breall, MD, PhD
- The W. Gerald Throgmartin Prostate Cancer Research Fund honoring oncologist Nabil Adra, MD
The gifts for cardiac transplantation and lung cancer were made to funds previously created by the Throgmartins. The gifts for the interventional cardiology fellowship and prostate research establish new areas of support.
The Throgmartins have a long history of generous support of Indiana University. Since the cancer center’s inception, the Throgmartin family—who owned the HH Gregg electronics and appliances chain—has demonstrated gratitude for the expertise of Indiana University cancer and cardiovascular experts.
Gerald’s son Jerry Throgmartin developed cancer in his 20s and was cared for by Stephen Williams, MD, one of IU’s first oncologists and later the inaugural director of the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. Jerry became the inaugural chair of the cancer center’s development board, serving from 1997 until his death in 2012. Jerry’s wife Peggy continues to champion her family’s support with service on the board and gifts that enhance cancer research and care in Kenya as well as annual support of the cancer center’s Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala.
In 1992, Jerry and Peggy Throgmartin supported construction of the first cancer research building on the IU School of Medicine campus. They later created a professorship to support the recruitment of cancer research faculty. They also endowed a senior chair—the HH Gregg Senior Chair in Oncology—that has been held by three successive cancer center directors.
In 2020, when Gerald lost his beloved wife Jo to lung cancer, he created the Betty Jo Throgmartin Lung Cancer Research Fund to honor her physician, Nasser Hanna, MD. Though Jo’s life expectancy at the time of her diagnosis was less than two years, she lived more than four years. Gerald credits this to having a physician who provided her with cutting-edge care.
Gerald is also a long-term survivor of prostate cancer. He is grateful for the care of Nabil Adra, MD and for the evolution of therapies driven by research that has made his own cancer journey relatively easy.
Gerald has also been a patient of IU's cardiovascular medicine program for more than 35 years—so long that he now considers his former physician a dear friend. In 2014, to honor O'Donnell at the time of her retirement, Gerald a made a gift to help establish the Jackie O'Donnell Fellowship in Cardiac Transplantation. O’Donnell joined the faculty in 1980 and led the team that performed the first heart transplant at Methodist Hospital.
Since Jackie's retirement, Gerald has been cared for by Dr. Jeffrey Breall. His excellent care inspired Gerald to create a fellowship in his name as well.
“These are just wonderful people,” Gerald Throgmartin said. “We know the research they do puts them on the cutting edge, and we want that continue. And, we want them to keep training other doctors to be so skilled. That helps people right here in Indiana – it has certainly helped our family.”
The legacy of this four-generation, family-owned company once headquartered in Indianapolis will live on through their philanthropy. Their generosity serves as a powerful reminder of the positive impact that philanthropy can have on the health and well-being of individuals and communities.
"We are deeply honored to receive these incredibly generous gifts from Gerald and Diane Throgmartin," said IU School of Medicine Dean Jay Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA. "These gifts will be invested in research that improves outcomes for patients and training that prepares the next generation of healthcare professionals. We are profoundly grateful to the Throgmartins for investing in our work.”
About IU School of Medicine
IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.