University of Pittsburgh coaches, city's pro teams donate $800K toward coronavirus vaccine research

Top athletic officials at the University of Pittsburgh have pooled together to make a significant donation to the university’s Center for Vaccine Research, which is working to create a coronavirus vaccine. 

The school announced Wednesday that the families of athletic director Heather Lyke, football coach Pat Narduzzi, men’s basketball coach Jeff Capel and women’s basketball coach Lance White donated a combined $500,000 to the CVR, which announced in February it would work to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. 

In addition to Pitt’s donation, the city’s three major professional sports franchises — the Penguins, Steelers and Pirates — all pledged donations of $100,000 each. In all, the donations totaled $800,000, which comes on the heels of the 65th anniversary of Dr. Jonah Salk developing the vaccine for polio at CVR in 1955. 

"Nothing great in life is ever achieved alone," Lyke said in a statement. "Pitt Athletics is honored to join forces with the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers in support of the Center for Vaccine Research and its extraordinary researchers. April marked the 65th anniversary of Dr. Jonas Salk's victory over polio and it is apparent that funding for vaccine research remains as crucial as ever. David and I are proud to support CVR's mission of making the world a healthier, safer place."

University of Pittsburgh athletic leaders pledged $500,000 to the school's Center for Vaccine Research. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Center for Vaccine Research voiced its appreciation in a statement from CVR director Paul Duprex. 

"We are stunned by the generosity and support the Pittsburgh community has shown for our center over the past few months, most recently from Pitt Athletics and our local sports teams — the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins," Duprex said. 

“That's the legacy of Jonas Salk on this town. Pittsburgh understands the importance of vaccines, and we're so grateful to be located here, where we can do our work to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, knowing the community is behind us."

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