Gary Ray - The Hormel Foundation

As work continues to double The Hormel Institute’s size, various community leaders and supporters of the cancer research center got a chance today to tour the inside of its expansion underway to add 20 laboratories.

Groups toured the expansion’s first floor on the east side of The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota and celebrated the start of construction on the Institute’s west side of a new Live Learning Center to enhance global cancer research. Combined, the two additions will double the size of The Hormel Institute’s facilities while overall employment is projected to double to about 250 faculty and staff in the coming years. Hiring for new faculty already is underway.

Construction started last June on the east expansion, launching the second major and historic addition in the past eight years, with the project now past its halfway point. The project is on schedule for completion by early 2016, with a Grand Opening event planned for June 1, 2016.

As part of the overall 2014-2016 expansions, the $4.5 million Live Learning Center will feature a multifunction room and 250-seat lecture hall with theater-style seating. Currently, the largest meeting room in The Hormel Institute holds 100, which is not enough for its current faculty and staff. The new auditorium also will accommodate the Institute’s future 250-person staff and allow for international global research collaborations. Institute officials and committee members are seeking community support to raise the remaining $560,000 needed for the project, specifically for acquiring state-of-the-art technology in the Live Learning Center.

Live Learning Center - The Hormel Institute

“Progress in cancer research doesn’t happen without scientific collaborations and the sharing of information worldwide,” said Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute. “This new Live Learning Center will greatly enhance and ease the ability of our world-class researchers to broadcast their findings to a global audience and learn from other scientists. It also will be a high-quality venue for bringing top researchers here for symposiums on the latest projects in the fight against cancer.”

The Hormel Institute, which has numerous global collaborations, already has scheduled two major international cancer research symposiums for 2016 in the future Live Learning Center. Those are the China-U.S. Frontiers in Cancer Research symposium and the International Skin Carcinogenesis Conference, with both bringing researchers from all over the world to Austin.

“World-renowned cancer research is being done here at The Hormel Institute, and the Live Learning Center will significantly enhance their global presence and influence even more,” said Gary Ray, Chair of The Hormel Foundation. “This exciting project will serve its main purpose very well – to accelerate discoveries related to cancer prevention and control.”

Dong expressed deep gratitude today to The Hormel Foundation and the many other Live Learning Center donors thus far. He emphasized the project and ongoing east expansion will further enhance Minnesota’s position as a global leader in bioscience.

Additionally, the Live Learning Center will be used to support education and distance-learning collaborations, including opportunities for local education institutions; community and regional learning events, such as the local TEDx talks; economic development support for the Development Corp. of Austin, Austin Chamber of Commerce and Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau; and training and meeting sessions for Hormel Foods’ employees around the world.

Tax-deductible gifts can be made to “The Hormel Foundation” in support of the Live Learning Center and a receipt will be provided for your charitable tax gift. Donation cards are available at The Hormel Institute and The Hormel Foundation. Gifts can be sent to The Hormel Foundation, 329 North Main St., Suite 102L, Austin, MN, 55912. For more information, call 507-437-9604.

Although fundraising for the Live Learning Center has just begun, the following is a list of the major donors to date who have made or pledged gifts to support the project:

$1 million-plus: The Hormel Foundation.

$100,000-plus: Richard & Nancy Knowlton; Gary & Pat Ray; Hormel Foods Corporation; and U.S. Bank.

$50,000-plus: Mahlon & Karen Schneider and Ecolab.

$10,000-plus: Drs. Zigang Dong and Wei-Ya Ma; Dr. Ann M. Bode; Dr. Rebecca Morris; Belita Schindler; and Adams, Rizzi & Sween, P.A.

$5,000-plus: Larry & Teri Pfeil; Steve & Signe Rizzi; Dr. Fred & Carolyn Bogott; Jerry & Carol Anfinson; Accentra Credit Union; James & Michelle Jorgenson; Paul & Sue Sween; and Quality Pork Processors.

$2,000-plus: Tom & Sheri Dankert; Steve & Deb Thorson; Brian & Ann Johnson; John & Terry Gray; James & Vicki Splinter; Chad & Laura Sayles; and Rick & Karen Herreid.

$1,000-plus: Dr. Ted & Gretchen Hinchcliffe; Dr. Young-In Chi; Don & Darlene Austin; David & Ann Juhlke; Craig & Jane Johnson; Richard & Julie Wham; Mike & Sue Jordan; James & Nancy Nelson; Lavona Johnson; John & Verneice Beckel; Patrick & Elizabeth Schwab; Kurt & Annette Mueller; Betty Lyle; Dr. Kurt & Brenda Potach; CliftonLarsonAllen; and The Joseph Company.

Dozens of other people and organizations have made gifts under $1,000 toward the Live Learning Center.

Every tax-deductible gift of $500 or more will be recognized on a new, beautiful donor wall in the Live Learning Center but all donations are important and appreciated for the project.