The Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute at Hoag Memorial Presbyterian was dedicated May 28. The ceremony honored principal donors Richard “Dick” Pickup and his wife, Donna, in addition to their extended family.
The institute is already garnering national attention as a West Coast research and treatment center focusing on the serious medical study of different forms of mental illness, addiction, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A $15 million gift, called “transformative and visionary” by Hoag Hospital Foundation board members, established the institute named for the Pickup family’s generosity.
The ceremony, produced by Hoag Hospital Foundation executives Deb McCure and Valerie Rosenfeld, began with a procession of golf carts escorting guests from the institute building, traveling down to Coast Highway with the purpose of unveiling a covered sign announcing the arrival of the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute.
The Pickups joined Flynn Andrizzi, president of Hoag Hospital Foundation, as well as Robert Braithwaite, president and chief executive officer of Hoag, and Michael Brant-Zawadski, senior physician executive of the Ron and Sandi Simon endowed chair of the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute, at the signage unveiling on Coast Highway prior to traveling back to the institute to be greeted by some 50 supportive family, friends and staff members.
Applause sounded as an afternoon reception kicked off with a welcome from Andrizzi, sharing a glimpse into the history and the motivation of Dick Pickup to make this targeted contribution. Both Braithwaite and Brant-Zawadski followed with comments emphasizing the importance of the work to be conducted at the institute.
Serious and personal comments were delivered by the generally circumspect Pickup, who made his fortune in the stock market as a broker.
“For years I heard my pastor, Dr. Huffman, say, `Don’t just give until it hurts; instead, give until it feels good.’ It has taken me some time to really get with this program. But now in the last two decades, I have learned the reality of what it means to be blessed and to be a blessing to others. Let me assure you that this feels good to me. What we are now doing for others is the highest form of investment I have ever made and some of the best money I have ever spent. And I know that this will continue to bear rich dividends for others long after I am no longer here.”
Pickup explained his connection to Hoag, sharing family history.
“We moved to Newport Beach in the early 60s,” he recalled. “I was preoccupied with earning a living to provide for my family. Hoag Hospital was barely in my vision, except knowing it was available when I needed it. I was appreciative of having two children, Devon and Todd, who were born here at Hoag in the mid-’60s. My family did tip our hats in the Hoag direction when we joined the 552 Club and a couple of decades ago ramped up our involvement by becoming benefactors of the institution.
“When my own financial investments began to prosper, increasingly I found myself asking the question, ‘Just what is enough?’ And what were my social and spiritual goals to use the gifts that God had given me in helping others beyond my own family? A wake-up moment regarding my own mortality came with a stroke I had. My son Todd rushed to my side and drove me to Hoag where I experienced first-hand the superb resource that this institution is to our community.”
Attending the reception and dedication were close and important friends and associates, including John Huffman Jr., pastor emeritus at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, and Jack Wright, Lin Auer, Gary and Carolyn McKitterick, Cindy and Al Strokke, Vicki and William Booth, Kathy Armstrong, and Gary Fudge.
Also front and center were Patricia and Jerry Jones and Peter and Ginny Ueberroth. From the medical community were Drs. Steven R. Ey, Medhat Mikhael, Andrew D. Ly, David Millett, Rob Louis, and Christopher M. Duma.
The impressive crowd applauded as Pickup concluded his address, sending a strong community message on the vital importance of philosophy in support of health care at Hoag.
“The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt, but rather, gratitude,” he said. “Were we to use more than 1% of my portfolio investment on ourselves, neither our happiness nor well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, the remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others. That reality sets an obvious course for me and my family: Keep all that we can conceivably need and distribute the rest to society, for its needs. My pledge to Hoag Hospital starts us down this course.”
B.W. COOK is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.