LAWRENCE — A $2 million gift from the Cray Medical Research Foundation of Atchison will establish a diabetes-focused professorship at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Dr. David Robbins, professor of medicine and director of the KU Diabetes Institute, will be the first recipient of the professorship, which will educate students in the Endocrinology, Metabolism & Genetics Division of the Internal Medicine Department at KU Med Center.
Robbins said the gift from the Cray Medical Research Foundation follows more than 30 years of support for diabetes care and research from Cloud “Bud” Cray and the late Sally Cray of Atchison.
“The Cray family recognizes that diabetes is becoming an epidemic, that treatment is time-consuming and often a drain on resources of our health care system,” he said. “This gift reflects the heartfelt concern Bud and Sally Cray have had for all the Kansans who suffer from diabetes.”
Supporting diabetes education and research is important to the Cray family, as Sally Cray battled the disease until her death in 2010.
Melissa Huntington, board president of the Cray Medical Research Foundation and Bud and Sally Cray’s granddaughter, said the entire Cray family is committed to seeing the foundation’s work continue in perpetuity.
“We believe that through our partnership with the KU Medical Center, this professorship will ensure that an endocrinologist of Dr. David Robbins’ expertise and passion will continue the great work in diabetes research and education that we take pride in at the University of Kansas,” Huntington said.
The Cray foundation provided the resources to open the Cray Diabetes Center at KU Medical Center in 1979 and has provided continual philanthropic support. Now called the Cray Diabetes Self-Management Center, it is committed to providing excellent care and education to patients with diabetes and their families. It serves patients at two locations, in Kansas City, Kansas, and in Overland Park.
In 2007, the KU Diabetes Institute opened its doors. As the research arm of the Self-Management Center, it engages in basic science, clinical and translational research projects centering on diabetes and its complications.
Bud Cray, a native of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, earned a chemical engineering degree at Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland. He joined MGP Ingredients in Atchison in 1947 and served the company in leadership positions for 68 years before retiring in 2015. Sally Cray, a native of Cleveland, attended Case Western Reserve/Flora Stone Mather College for two years and married Bud in 1944. Soon afterward they moved to Atchison, where they worked, raised their family and served the community.
KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.
Photo: Cray Medical Research Foundation executives Karen Seaberg, vice president; Melissa Huntington, president, and Susan Robbins, treasurer, welcome professorship recipient Dr. David Robbins, director of the KU Diabetes Institute at KU Medical Center.