Detroit Native Pledges $1.9M to School of Medicine at Wayne State University


Karen Knopper, founder of Pet Suite Retreat, an animal boarding facility, has pledged $1.9 million to Wayne State University’s School of Medicine in Detroit. Knopper helped her father run Danny’s Markets, a Detroit grocery store.

“I’m doing what my father would have done,” says Knopper. “There’s just such a need for philanthropy in Detroit.”

Knopper is honoring her parents’ legacy through the Knopper Family Endowed Chair and the Knopper Family Endowed Research Fund in the School of Medicine. Together, the gifts will support research endeavors in the department of ophthalmology, visual, and anatomical sciences.

“I am excited to see where the research will go,” says Knopper. “I know these endowments will continue to fund this research far into the future, and it’s important.”

Knopper lived on the East Coast for a time before leaving her career in law and moving back to her hometown after her mother’s death. She helped her father run the grocery store for many years and started Pet Suite Retreat after the store was sold. Pet Suite Retreat has a location in each Inkster and Troy.

“The Knopper Family Endowed Chair and the Knopper Family Endowed Research Fund will have an important impact on the future of the new department of ophthalmology, visual, and anatomical sciences because it will allow us to put in place succession plans to recruit and retain a specialist in translational research with expertise in infectious diseases. This chair will be the cornerstone of our translational research priorities,” says Linda Hazlet, vice dean of research and graduate programs.

“As a newly-merged department, we will take a basic science approach to translational sciences and ensure continuity throughout the work that we do in anatomy and cell biology as well as our clinical research in ophthalmology. This endowment will enhance our clinical trials and research in basic sciences with the expectation that it will lead to treatment for debilitating ocular diseases.”

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