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$50m gift to Mass. General will support several projects

The Massachusetts General Hospital campus.
The Massachusetts General Hospital campus.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

Massachusetts General Hospital has received one of its largest gifts ever — $50 million from philanthropists James S. and Carol J. Herscot.

The money will fund a variety of capital projects and initiatives, and continue support for the Herscot Center for Children and Adults with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.

In honor of the gift, Mass. General will name the building that houses the center, at 175 Cambridge St., the Carol and James Herscot Building.

Tuberous sclerosis complex, or TSC, is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in many organs, especially the brain, eyes, heart, kidney, skin, and lungs. When it affects the brain, it can lead to seizures, autism, cognitive impairment, and mental health disorders. But its severity varies widely; some TSC patients go much of their lives without knowing they have it, while others have symptoms starting in childhood.

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The Herscots’ son, Brad, has been dealing with TSC for almost 50 years. In 2005, the Herscots donated $10 million to establish the Herscot Center for Children and Adults with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. Another gift of $17.5 million followed in 2017.

Led by Dr. Elizabeth A. Thiele, the Herscot Center seeks to improve diagnosis, treatment, and research of TSC.

“Jim and Carol have been among the hospital’s strongest supporters and champions for more than 50 years,” Dr. Peter L. Slavin, MGH president, said in a statement. “Their vision, friendship and generosity have been enormously helpful to advancing the MGH mission.’’

James Herscot, a Lowell native, founded Princeton Properties in 1973. The company buys, builds, renovates, leases, and manages apartment communities and corporate furnished apartments.

Some other notable gifts to MGH in recent years: $100 million from tech magnate Phillip T. Ragon and his wife, Susan, in 2009 to create a joint institute with other research powerhouses, including MIT and Harvard, to accelerate the quest to find an AIDS vaccine; and $35 million in 2007 for the hospital’s burn unit and emergency department from media mogul Sumner Redstone.

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The latest gift to MGH was announced two weeks after the hospital said it planned to spend more than $1 billion to build a large addition. It would include two connected 12-story towers on Cambridge Street, with hundreds of private patient rooms, a heart center, a cancer center, operating rooms, and other clinical areas.

Mass. General expects to be able to treat at least 100 to 200 additional patients when the building — spanning 1 million square feet — is complete in about seven years.


Jeremiah Manion of the Globe staff contributed to this report.