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William R. Lummis Retires from HHMI Board of Trustees

Summary

William R. Lummis, a Houston attorney, served as an Institute Trustee since 1984.

The Trustees of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute today announced the retirement of William R. Lummis, a Houston attorney who served as an Institute Trustee since 1984.

Lummis played a pivotal role in establishing HHMI as a leader in biomedical research and helped ensure the Institute's successful reorganization following the death of his cousin and its founder, Howard R. Hughes. He was appointed as one of the charter trustees of the Institute by the Delaware Court of Chancery in 1984.

“It is owing in large part to Will Lummis that the Institute has developed into the distinguished leader it has now become in the world of the biomedical sciences,” said Hanna H. Gray, Chair of the Trustees and president emeritus of the University of Chicago.

A graduate of Rice University and the University of Texas Law School, Lummis practiced law in Houston for 23 years with the firm now known as Andrews & Kurth. In 1976, Lummis became the administrator of the Hughes estate and left Houston for Las Vegas, Nev., where he assumed the leadership of a variety of Hughes businesses. After achieving considerable success with these enterprises, Lummis retired as chief executive officer of the Hughes Corp. and the Summa Corp. in 1990.

Throughout his varied career Lummis maintained his home in Houston where he has been an important civic leader and where he and his wife Doris continue to live.

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The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is dedicated to discovering and disseminating new knowledge in the basic life sciences. HHMI grounds its research programs on the conviction that scientists of exceptional talent and imagination will make fundamental contributions of lasting scientific value and benefit to mankind when given the resources, time and freedom to pursue challenging questions. The Institute prizes intellectual daring and seeks to preserve the autonomy of its scientists as they pursue their research.

A nonprofit medical research organization, HHMI was established in 1953 by the aviator-industrialist. The Institute, headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, is one of the largest philanthropies in the world with an endowment of $16.3 billion at the close of its 2006 fiscal year. HHMI spent $538 million in support of biomedical research and $87 million for a variety of science education and other grants programs in fiscal 2006.

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Jim Keeley
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