Carmel couple donating $45M to University of Maryland

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An Indiana couple is making a $45 million donation to the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which will use the money to establish a research center to study autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Ken Cafferty, identified as a Carmel businessman who works in mining in Indiana, and his wife, Shelia, made the donation Thursday morning. They said Shelia Cafferty, a nurse, suffered for years with severe symptoms until Dr. Alessio Fasano, a celiac disease researcher, diagnosed her with gluten sensitivity.

Fasano will direct the new center, which will study celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and Type 1 diabetes.

The center will initially include 13 faculty members, and will employ as many as 200 when it is up and running.

The gift is the largest private donation in the history of the University System of Maryland.

Forty million dollars of the donation is coming from a private foundation in which the Caffertys are key stakeholders, the university said. The remaining $5 million comes directly from the Caffertys and will fund an endowed distinguished professorship that supports a director position in perpetuity.

Fasano's studies have found that about one in 133 Americans suffers from celiac disease, and that the condition often begins later in life.


  • Praise for Donation by Caffertys
    As a former resident of Carmel, IN and CHS graduate, I am proud to see other Carmel residents contributing to such a worthy cause. Two of my sons, niece and brother have celiac disease; my father died from complications of life-long undiagnosed celiac disease. We are ecstatic to see that the University of Maryland is dedicated to research on autoimmune diseases which plague families in clusters. I have MS, my youngest son Grant has Type 1 in addition to his celiac, and other autoimmune conditions run rampant in our family. Grant has also endured brain surgery to remove a baseball size cyst, a recent onset of kidney failure, complications from Type 1 and celiac -- yet says if ONE could be cured soon, he would choose a cure for CELIAC DISEASE!!!! Thank you Caffertys, and thank you Dr. Fasano. Time to unlock the secrets of autoimmune disease. Julie Costakis

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

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