August 10, 2005
CONTACT: Suzanna Cisneros Martinez, suzanna.martinez@ttuhsc.edu

LUBBOCK – The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center today (Aug. 10) received a gift from long-time West Texas supporters, the Bill and Corinne Wright family. The gift will help establish the Corinne Payne Wright Regents Endowed Chair in Alzheimer’s disease.

The endowment, which aims to improve the cognitive disorders of late life, will be located within the School of Medicine’s Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. The endowment is created through funds contributed by the Wright family along with a one-third match from the Health Sciences Center.

The Wright family owns and operates ASCO, a heavy line equipment dealer and rental house founded in 1960.

Corinne Payne Wright was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2001. Paula Wright Key said her mother is a Texas Tech fan and supporter. “Our family wanted to honor her and Dr. Randolph Schiffer,” Key said. “When mother is too ill to bring in for her appointments, Dr. Schiffer personally comes and pays a house call to her. He is a good friend and supporter of our family.”

The Alzheimer’s Research Foundation estimates that about 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease, and about 360,000 people are newly diagnosed every year. Alzheimer's affects about 10 percent of people ages 65 and older. Half of the population ages 85 and older may have Alzheimer's.
Because the population of the United States is aging, the number of people with Alzheimer's will continue to rise unless preventative measures are discovered. At current rates, experts believe that as many as 16 million Americans will have the disease by the year 2050.

M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S., president of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, said endowments that support academic development are essential for a vision of excellence for all health sciences centers across the nation.

“Through the Wright family’s generosity, we can become major participants in the quest to find answers to important research questions on Alzheimer’s and other age-related diseases,” Wilson said. “We are extremely grateful.”

Schiffer, chair of the Department of Neuropsychiatry, said the Wright family has been a vital supporter of West Texas for several generations.

“They give back to the community in many ways, with notable contributions in community leadership, business success, financial support for education, and academic endowments at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center,” Schiffer said. “Their company’s beliefs and core values stress service, spirituality and generosity to their employees. With the Wright family by our side, I don’t see how we can fail to make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.”