$1.5 million gift to establish biomedical research lab at YSU

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Eleanor Watanakunakorn is donating $1.5 million to the project

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State University is getting a large gift to create a biomedical research lab.

Eleanor Watanakunakorn, the window of a well-known local doctor, is donating $1.5 million to the project in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The endowment will support students performing undergraduate research. Students going into the medical field will be targeted for use of the lab.

All participating students are required to give an oral or poster presentation during the program’s annual symposium.

“The dean had started this at his prior university and found great success, and it really helped keep students involved and engaged. And also, he found more of a success rate in their graduation,” said Heather Chunn, of the YSU Foundation.

Mrs. Watanakunakorn is a longstanding philanthropic leader in the Mahoning Valley. In 2014, she was recognized as an “Outstanding Philanthropist” by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Mahoning-Shenango Chapter National Philanthropy Day Awards.

Her late husband, Dr. Chatrchai Watanakukorn, was the first infectious disease specialist in Youngstown, working for nearly 22 years at St. Elizabeth Health Center.

Her donation becomes part of the University’s “We See Tomorrow” fundraising campaign, which has now passed the $100-million mark.

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