Local Real Estate Developer to Receive Award from The Wistar Institute

Local Real Estate Developer to Receive Award from The Wistar Institute

October 9, 2007

(PHILADELPHIA – October 10, 2007) – Longtime real estate developer Hal Davis of Berwyn, Pa., will be honored by The Wistar Institute at a black-tie gala October 27 at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Davis has been a member of the Wistar board of trustees for 20 years, and he and his wife, Eleanor, support breast cancer research at the Institute. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.

Davis will receive the Wistar Award, which the Institute presents periodically to an individual who demonstrates compassion, integrity, generosity, commitment, and vision in service to Wistar. The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development.

“Hal has always been a person I could go to for advice and counsel,” said Russel E. Kaufman, M.D., president and CEO of The Wistar Institute. “And at the end of the day, he believes in what we do at Wistar and has been extremely supportive of our efforts.”

The Davises’ interest in cancer research – one of Wistar’s primary areas of focus – stems from personal experience. Hal lost a brother to cancer, and Eleanor survived breast cancer. She recalls: "When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1979 at a young age and Hal became involved at Wistar, I thought it was a perfect opportunity for us to invest in basic biomedical research – to help find a cause, and eventually a cure.”

After the couple’s son Christopher died in an automobile accident in 1995, they established the Christopher M. Davis Memorial Fund at Wistar in his memory. The fund created a fellowship that allows Wistar to recognize a postdoctoral fellow who excels in breast-cancer research. Most recently, the Davises also endowed an associate professorship at the Institute that will help Wistar to remain competitive in recruiting outstanding young scientists for cancer research.

The Davises have climbed to great heights – literally – in their efforts to support cancer research. In 1992, the couple set off with family members to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya, an ascent of 19,340 feet. Wistar Institute researchers supplied them with a Wistar flag, which they planted when they reached the summit.

A photo of the Davises on Mount Kilimanjaro is available for download at http://www.wistar.org/images/Davis/kilimanjaro.jpg.

In 1995, Eleanor also participated in Expedition Inspiration, in which breast-cancer survivors climbed Aconcagua in Argentina – the highest point in the Western Hemisphere at 22,831 feet – to raise awareness of breast cancer. Her climb also raised funds for cancer research at Wistar.

Davis co-founded Realen Homes in 1967. The company was named National Home Builder of the Year in 1998. He sold the company in 2000 but continues to serve as a founding partner with Realen Properties, a commercial real estate developer with properties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, and Florida.

A portrait of Davis is available to be downloaded at http://www.wistar.org/images/Davis/HalDavis.jpg.

Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. Discoveries at Wistar have led to the creation of the rubella vaccine that eradicated the disease in the United States, human rabies vaccines used worldwide, and a new rotavirus vaccine approved in 2006. Today, Wistar is home to preeminent research programs studying skin cancer, lung cancer, and brain tumors. Wistar Institute Vaccine Center scientists are creating new vaccines against pandemic influenza, HIV, and other diseases threatening global health. The Institute works actively to transfer its inventions to the commercial sector to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible.

The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures. On the Web at www.wistar.org