Yale–New Haven Receives Naming Gift for Cancer Hospital

Joel E. Smilow ’54

The Smilow Cancer Hospital Will Open in Late 2009

Yale–New Haven Hospital (YNHH) and Yale University have announced that Joel E. Smilow ’54 will make a major gift to support the new, 14-story cancer hospital currently under construction at Yale–New Haven. The comprehensive patient care facility will be known as the Smilow Cancer Hospital.

“We are building one of the finest patient-focused cancer care facilities in the country,” said Marna P. Borgstrom, President and CEO of YNHH. “We are very grateful for Joel and Joan Smilow’s overwhelmingly generous gift to the cancer hospital, and for sharing our vision of creating a place of hope and compassion for cancer patients.”

Joel Smilow, the former chair, chief executive officer, and president of Playtex Products, Inc., is one of Yale University’s most generous benefactors. He was the national chair of major gifts for the University’s “…and for Yale” campaign in the 1990s. He also served as a member of both the Yale Development Board and the Board of Governors of the Association of Yale Alumni. 

Smilow is highly involved with the affairs of the Class of 1954 as a long-term active member of the Class Council, class treasurer 1994–1999 and class secretary 1999–2004, ending with the Class’ 50th Reunion, which he chaired. This reunion broke all records for attendance, while also shattering all giving records for all reunion classes. He is a staunch friend of Yale Athletics, having funded the Smilow Field Center, as well as four varsity head coach and two varsity associate head coach positions. He has donated money to renovate the football offices and played a leadership role in the fundraising for the Yale Bowl renovation project.

“This generous gift for the cancer hospital will have a lasting impact on the lives of countless patients who will benefit from the state-of-the-art clinical care,” said Yale University President Richard C. Levin. “We are deeply thankful for Joel and Joan’s dedicated support.”

In addition to supporting his alma mater, Smilow has been very active as a worker and major donor to a wide variety of causes, including the New York Philharmonic; the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Movement, with which he has had a 36-year involvement (a new Smilow clubhouse is under construction in Ansonia, Conn.); and five other medical institutions. He is a trustee of the NYU Medical Center, a member of its operating committee, and the chair of its board development committee. He and his wife, Joan, were the naming donors for NYU’s 13-story translational medical research center on FDR Drive in New York City, which was dedicated in May 2006.

The Smilow Cancer Hospital will integrate all oncology patient services at the Hospital and Yale School of Medicine in one building specifically designed to deliver multidisciplinary cancer care.

“Medical school faculty members will be able to offer the latest, cutting-edge therapies, integrating improved care—which will be much more comfortable for our patients—with clinical research,” said Robert J. Alpern, M.D., Dean of Yale School of Medicine and the Ensign Professor of Medicine. “Joel and Joan Smilow are assuring the future of a very important aspect of patient care at Yale.”

The 14-story facility will contain nearly 500,000 square feet and will include 112 inpatient beds, outpatient treatment rooms, expanded operating rooms, infusion suites, diagnostic imaging services, and a specialized women’s cancer center (including the Yale–New Haven Breast Center and the GYN Oncology Center) as well as a floor each for diagnostic and therapeutic radiology.

The new cancer hospital will cost an estimated $467 million and is expected to open upon its completion in 2009.

Yale–New Haven Hospital currently offers a comprehensive array of cancer diagnosis and treatment services with Yale Cancer Center, which is southern New England’s only designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and one of only 39 in the nation.

(October 31, 2007)

October 31, 2007