Michael A. Evans is a former Army Ranger who returned from Vietnam with life-threatening injuries. Through great medical care and strength of will, he endured to become a noted scientist. In 1990, he founded AIT Laboratories and quickly learned that running a business requires a different kind of strength and after a few years of trying, was on the verge of bankruptcy. In 2009, he transferred ownership of his company to his nearly 500 employees in an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), a move that set the stage for AIT to become an Indiana life sciences success story.
A year later, he made a gift and magnanimous pledge of $48 million to Marian University that would kick off the creation of a new medical school for Indiana. To honor his great act of stewardship, Marian University will name the new building on campus, which will house the College of Osteopathic Medicine and the School of Nursing, in his honor. The Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences, set to open in the fall of 2013, will be officially named in a ceremony on the university’s campus at 5:15 p.m. today. Evans is the president and chief executive officer of AIT Laboratories in Indianapolis. Twitter hash tags #Indy #MedSchool.
“Marian University has a deep passion to meet the needs of humanity, especially in the areas of healthcare and excellence in education,” said Marian University’s president, Daniel J. Elsener. “The magnanimous investment Dr. Evans had made will do much to provide the healthcare resources that are needed in Indiana, especially by those most vulnerable,” he continued.
“This gift is not about having my name on a building. My investment is about the students who will walk out of this building in four years with the ability to treat families and improve their lives, which is the true gift,” said Evans.
Elsener pointed out that Evans was reluctant to put his name on the building, but he and the university’s Board of Trustees prevailed upon him to share his inspirational story and great act of philanthropy with every student, faculty member, and visitor who passes through the new building. “Our hope is that every student who is educated here will be inspired by his legacy and understand how they can share their gifts with others as selflessly as he has.”
First New Medical School in Indiana in Over 100 Years
In March 1903, William Lowe Bryan’s proposal to establish a medical school at Indiana University was accepted. It would be 107 years before another medical school was proposed in Indiana, on January 15, 2010, by Marian University and the Indiana Osteopathic Association. Marian University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and School of Nursing (founded in 1977) will be housed in the Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences.
Hospitals and healthcare-related companies across Indiana have supported the university’s development of a new medical school. Both St.Vincent Health and Community Health Network have given $5 million gifts; Michael G. Browning and Eli Lilly and Company Foundation have given $1 million; and Hill-Rom has given $1 million plus equipment. The partnerships established by the university and the tremendous investments made by organizations across Indiana will insure that this will be a top-tier healthcare education and research facility in Indianapolis. The university is part of the city’s new 16 Tech initiative.
"Marian University has undertaken a bold project with great vision, and that boldness has drawn partners and investors from across Indiana,” said John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D. chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly and Company, Inc. “Clearly, Michael Evans has seized a once in a lifetime opportunity to help build a medical education facility in Indianapolis that will attract world-class faculty, researchers, and students. Eli Lilly and Company is proud to join so many of our community partners in support of this new and much needed medical school,” he said.
“Michael Evans has long understood Indiana’s doctor shortage and the need for more highly educated healthcare workers,” said Dr. Paul Evans, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Because of his involvement, we are creating an exceptional curriculum and a top-tier medical school that will attract top teaching and research faculty from across the country.” When the university becomes eligible to recruit students later this fall, Dean Evans believes the program will recruit some of the nation’s best and brightest students.
“As our recent report on the life sciences sector makes clear, Indianapolis is truly emerging as a national ‘destination community’ when it comes to the life sciences and healthcare,” said BioCrossroads president and chief executive officer David Johnson. “This is happening thanks to the vision and passion of so many of our leading institutions. Marian University’s new College of Osteopathic Medicine and expanded School of Nursing will be important to this landscape, bringing further energy and expanded opportunities for primary care to our community and its citizens,” he continued.
One of the hallmarks of Marian University’s healthcare initiative is that the medical students and nursing students will be housed in the same building and will train together. “This approach is distinctive in the United States and will produce doctors and nurses who have a different perspective on patient care and teamwork in the healthcare setting,” said Dr. Anita Siccardi, Marian University’s dean of the School of Nursing.
"We have a proven track record of training residents and medical students within our health system, and are a proud supporter of the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine," said Marvin White, chief financial officer of St.Vincent Health and a Marian University board member. “To build a high performing program focused on educating future physicians, there is a significant need for corporate, individual, and community support. It is our honor to be affiliated with a faith-based educational institution that is committed to making a difference in the health status of Indiana residents."
The building, designed by Indianapolis architects Schmidt and Associates and BSA LifeStructures, will cost $55 million when completed in 2013. It is part of a larger initiative that includes expansion of the university’s library, science program, and related needs totaling $160 million. To date, the university has raised $82 million. University officials noted that the medical center is being funded entirely through private donations.
Sen. Richard G. Lugar, the senior U.S. Senator from Indiana, conveyed a letter to the university prior to the groundbreaking. In it, he said, “The groundbreaking today of the Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences is a tremendously exciting step forward for Indiana’s medical community. I applaud Dan Elsener, Michael Evans, and Marian University for their vision and determination to create a college of osteopathic medicine in Indiana. With only 26 osteopathic medical schools across the nation, its innovative curriculum will doubtless play a significant role in training the next generation of osteopathic medical providers in this state and the nation. I look forward to closely following the school’s achievements in the years ahead.”
Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN7) also conveyed a congratulatory letter. In it he noted the university’s top tier, nationally accredited nursing program. “Indianapolis has been the fortunate recipient of the excellent products of Marian’s School of Nursing, and the introduction of this new state-of-the-art facility will only continue to expand upon these dividends with the new College of Osteopathic Medicine.”
The broad political support for this private project is notable. U.S. Senator Dan Coats will attend today’s ceremony.
“Michael has played a significant role in making Indiana a national leader in the healthcare and life sciences field,” said Indiana governor Mitch Daniels. “Now his tremendous generosity will allow future generations of Hoosiers to continue the pursuit of knowledge and excellence in this noble field.”
“I have been an advocate for Marian University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine from the beginning and am immensely pleased that this vision is finally being realized,” said Rep. Bob Behning of Indianapolis. “This school will bring a wide array of talent to the city of Indianapolis and I applaud Dan Elsener for having the courage to move this needed and important project forward.”
The Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences represents a tremendous boon to the economy in central Indiana. In an economic impact study released in September of 2010, the building construction alone will create 320 direct jobs and nearly $57 million worth of economic impact statewide. The project, including medical school and School of Nursing, will have a total economic impact in excess of $100 million. The university has had a longstanding commitment to academic excellence, especially in the sciences, and enrollment has already doubled in the undergraduate programs. This growth is expected to continue once the medical school is open. “The university’s ongoing contribution to the Indiana economy will only increase as time goes on,” said Elsener.
“The City of Indianapolis is pleased that Michael Evans has taken the step to further strengthen the collaboration between Marian University and the near-west side,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. This multi-million dollar investment creates yet another significant connection point between the city’s extensive medical and research capabilities and the 16 Tech vision.” Mayor Ballard will speak at the ceremony today.
“The Indiana Osteopathic Association (IOA) is participating in the naming and groundbreaking ceremony for the new Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences with great pride and enthusiasm,” said David Coil, DO, president of the IOA. “This is exciting for DO's across Indiana. We are honored to partner with Marian University and its generous benefactor, Michael Evans, on this incredible endeavor that will change medicine for our patients in Indiana for years to come,” he continued.
Kristin Jones, president and chief executive officer of Indiana Health Industry Forum, remarked that even in this early stage, Marian University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine is already having a positive impact. “This program is critical both to increasing the number of physicians serving patients across the state as well as to the local economy. The investment being made by the university and its partners reaches far beyond the boundaries of the campus and directly influences students, neighborhoods, the city of Indianapolis, and communities throughout Indiana,” she said.
About Michael A. Evans, Ph.D.
Michael A. Evans, Ph.D. brought twenty years of experience in toxicology and medical training to the forefront when he founded AIT Laboratories in 1990. Since then, the Indianapolis-based healthcare company, which specializes in compliance monitoring, forensics, clinical and pharmaceutical testing, has grown into a premiere healthcare and research institution recognized nationwide for superior customer service and quality in testing. In 2009, Evans transferred ownership of the company to his employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
During his career, Evans has provided consultation for national and international corporations and government agencies including British Petroleum (Amoco), U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Defense, and U.S. Department of Labor. He was also the director, co-founder and chief scientific officer for the American Institute for Drug Detection, which was the first laboratory in the nation to provide drug testing programs for the United States Navy and the nuclear power industry.
Prior to his career as an entrepreneur, Evans served as tenured professor, director, faculty member, and researcher for institutions such as the Indiana University School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Illinois Institute of Technology, and the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He was also a visiting professor of toxicology for Kunming Medical College and the Sichuan Institute of Materia Medica, both located in China.
Evans has a doctorate in toxicology from the Indiana University School of Medicine, a postdoctoral fellowship with the National Toxicology Center at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and numerous fellowships and grants from the National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization.
About Marian University
Marian University (www.marian.edu) is the only Catholic liberal arts university in central Indiana. It is a private, co-educational school offering classes to both traditional and non-traditional students. Located two miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis, Marian University is a Catholic university dedicated to excellent teaching and learning in the Franciscan and liberal arts traditions. It is one of Indiana’s 31 independent colleges, and one of 244 Catholic colleges and universities in the United States. On July 1, 2009, Marian College became Marian University. On May 4, 2011, Marian University received pre-accreditation status for a new medical school.