Major League Baseball today is commemorating the 80th anniversary of the passing of Yankees great Lou Gehrig, to raise awareness of the neuromuscular disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which took the player’s life on June 2, 1941.
Lou Gehrig Day holds special resonance for Clark Trustee Lee Plave ’80, whose wife, Ilene, passed away from ALS in October 2017, after 31 years of marriage.
In Ilene’s honor, Lee and their three children have made a substantial gift to the University to establish the Plave Family Research Fellowship. The Fellowship will support Clark undergraduates who are pursuing research in neuroscience, with an emphasis on the fundamental science needed to understand, diagnose, and treat ALS.
Students who have been awarded the Fellowship will conduct their research under the guidance of Professor Néva Meyer in the Biology Department.
“The disease is unimaginable and devastating to the patient, of course, as well as to their family and friends,” Plave says. “When I met with Professor Meyer, I could see that she was passionate about this research, and I know that her students will do great things.”
Plave said that his late wife Ilene was no stranger to Clark, and she visited campus many times when he was a student and attended his graduation. His children, too, were frequent visitors to campus as they grew up.
“While I’m technically the only Clarkie, there’s a deep family connection to the University,” he says.
Applications for the Fellowship will be submitted through the Career Connections Center and be reviewed by Biology Department faculty.
Recipients will present the results of their research at an appropriate venue such as a professional conference or Clark’s Fall Fest or Academic Spree Day during the academic year following their fellowship.