A letter from the chairman

All of us at the Stowers Institute are deeply saddened by the loss of our pioneering co-founder Virginia G. Stowers. Her lasting legacy extends far beyond Kansas City and the biomedical research institute she and her husband James E. Stowers Jr. founded in 1994.

Mrs. Stowers will be remembered as an individual who demonstrated great humility and deep interest in others. Throughout her own courageous battle with cancer in 1993, her focus was on finding ways to help others fighting similar battles.

Together, she and Jim set a goal of furthering research aimed at understanding the fundamental behavior of the cells in our bodies. Their goal was to make a significant contribution to humanity through medical research, toward improving life’s quality through innovative approaches to the causes, treatment, and prevention of diseases.

Their innate philanthropy also drove them to join Warren Buffett and Bill Gates in The Giving Pledge, a movement of philanthropists who commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills.

We are forever grateful for her foresight, generosity and vision. Virginia’s meticulous handprint encircles us. To move through the halls of the Institute is to experience the legacy she and Jim selflessly bestowed on us. 

Richard Brown

Chair of the Board of Directors
Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Stowers Resource Management, American Century Companies, Inc., BioMed Valley Discoveries, Inc.

Virginia G. Stowers, 1930-2021

Virginia Ann Glascock was born May 21, 1930, in Rawlins, WY. She attended St. Joseph School of Nursing in Denver, CO, an affiliate of Regis University, and then studied at Research Hospital School of Nursing in Kansas City, MO, where she was licensed as a registered nurse in 1952.

Virginia and James E. “Jim” Stowers Jr. were married in Kansas City, MO., in February of 1954. While raising their four children, Virginia worked part-time as a nurse anesthetist at Research and Menorah hospitals in Kansas City until the mid-1980s.

In the mid-1990s, Virginia and Jim decided to use a substantial share of the wealth they accumulated as significant equity owners of American Century Investments to establish and endow a world-class biomedical research institute in Kansas City. The Stowers Institute for Medical Research opened its research campus in 2000. The institute's mission is to significantly contribute to humanity through medical research by improving quality of life through innovative approaches to the causes, treatment, and prevention of diseases.

In 2014, Virginia lost the love of her life when Jim passed away after sixty years of marriage, but her commitment to the mission of the Institute remained.

Together with Jim, Virginia received multiple awards for community service and philanthropy, including the “Others Award” for community service from the Salvation Army in 1999, the Chancellor’s Medal from UMKC in 1999, the Marion and John Kreamer Award for Social Entrepreneurship from the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC in 2013, and induction into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame at the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship at UMKC in 2018.

Among the awards Virginia has received are honorary doctorates from Saint Mary College (now University of Saint Mary), Research College of Nursing, Rockhurst University, and University of Missouri—Kansas City.

In addition, Virginia received the 2016 Vision to Action Award from the Center for Practical Bioethics. This award honors individuals who encourage and exhibit the highest ethical standards of conduct in their leadership, vision, and commitment. 

About the Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Founded in 1994 through the generosity of Jim Stowers, founder of American Century Investments, and his wife, Virginia, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research is a non-profit, biomedical research organization with a focus on foundational research. Its mission is to expand our understanding of the secrets of life and improve life’s quality through innovative approaches to the causes, treatment, and prevention of diseases.

The Institute consists of twenty independent research programs. Of the approximately 500 members, over 370 are scientific staff that includes principal investigators, technology center directors, postdoctoral scientists, graduate students, and technical support staff. Learn more about the Institute at www.stowers.org and about its graduate program at www.stowers.org/gradschool.



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