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The Wistar Institute’s NCI-Designated Cancer Center Named in Honor of Caplan Family’s Generous Support 

February 16, 2024

A gathering of Wistar employees, donors and senior leaders assembled outside The Wistar Institute on February 13th to unveil a new tribute to a family that has made an indelible impact on The Wistar Institute: Ellen and Ronald Caplan.  

With Ellen, Ron, and their son Matthew Caplan looking on, Dr. Dario Altieri, president and CEO of The Wistar Institute, removed a blue fabric drape to reveal the permanent sign, which reads “Ellen and Ronald Caplan Cancer Center.”  

The tribute was installed to recognize the Caplan’s principal gift for Wistar’s National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center. Ron, who is the founder and president of PMC Property Group, Inc., and his wife Ellen made the gift to empower Wistar’s world-leading scientists in their search for high-impact discoveries toward promising cancer therapies. 

The Caplans have long-standing ties to Wistar. Ron has been a member of the Institute’s Board of Trustees since 2009, and in 2014, he and Ellen donated the 200-seat, high-tech Sarah and Matthew Caplan Auditorium in the Robert and Penny Fox Tower — named for their children in the hope that cancer’s cure would be found in their lifetime. As chair of Wistar’s Bold Science // Global Impact Campaign, Ron has contributed his leadership to help raise more than $50 million to power Wistar Science.  

During a reception following the unveiling, Dr. Altieri explained why philanthropy plays such an important role in advancing Wistar Science. “Wistar philanthropy is about the future — the promise and the hope for discoveries that have yet to be made,” he said. “We’ve learned science can transform the world, and we cannot be more grateful for people like the Caplans who have the vision to support that spirit of discovery.” 

Ron explained that his family has been directly impacted by cancer, and the gift is intended to help accelerate future discoveries that could lead to therapies and cures for the disease.  

“My son Matthew lost his grandmother to cancer when she was just 52. Today, she would have lived because of the great scientists that are here every day, trying to make the world a better place,” he said to a room full of Wistarians. “Ellen and I are thrilled that we’re able to make this gift to Wistar, and I’m honored that I’m lucky enough to be able to contribute to a place that is so wonderful.”