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Late KUMC dean and her husband leave $10 million estate gift for libraries and scholarships

Thursday, July 18, 2013
David and State Ringle

David and Stata Ringle

A $10 million estate gift from Stata Norton Ringle and David Ringle will provide support for libraries on the University of Kansas Lawrence campus and at the medical center, and create scholarships for students in the KU Medical Center’s School of Health Professions.

The gift will be divided equally for three purposes: the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, the Clendening History of Medicine Library, and student scholarships in the School of Health Professions. The library gifts will support acquisition of books and manuscripts, and maintenance of existing collections.

"Stata Norton Ringle was a pioneer in her field and a role model for generations of students at the medical center," said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. "She and David were devoted to each other and to their scientific endeavors. Through this generous gift, they have left an enduring legacy that will benefit KU students and help the university educate the health professionals Kansas communities need."

Stata Norton Ringle served in various capacities at the medical center from 1962 until 1990. She was emerita professor of pharmacology, toxicology and therapeutics; professor in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition; and dean of the School of Allied Health (now the School of Health Professions). She wrote more than 150 research articles and was internationally recognized for her work on the effects of drugs and toxins on animal behavior.

David Ringle was a research physiologist at the Midwest Research Institute until his retirement. He was awarded the prestigious New York University Founders Day Award. Former residents of Leawood, Kan., the Ringles were married for more than 62 years and died within three months of each other in 2012.

Dean of KU Libraries Lorraine Haricombe commented on the campus-wide impact of the gift. "The Ringle's generosity will enable us to further contribute to student success through classroom instruction, one-on-one research assistance and facilities that co-locate the resources students need to excel academically," Haricombe said. "And by augmenting our efforts to provide increased access to the libraries' collections and expertise, their gift will ultimately help to enhance teaching, research and learning on campus and around the world. We couldn't be more grateful for the Ringle's support of the libraries at KU."

Stata co-wrote a book titled Herbal Supplements and the Brain: Understanding Their Health Benefits and Hazards, which was published shortly before her death. Her co-author was S.J. Enna, KUMC associate dean for research and graduate education.

Enna also is a professor of pharmacology and physiology and former chair of the Department of Pharmacology. He and the Ringles were friends for more than 20 years. Enna described them as a delightful couple who enjoyed spending weekends with their dogs at a modest second home they owned in the country. The couple had no children, and Stata was devoted to her career.

"KU obviously meant a lot to Stata, and if it meant a lot to Stata, it meant a lot to David," said Enna.

Enna described Stata as energetic. "Up to the end, she was very interested in life and staying active, especially intellectually active. She was always curious, always reading something."

Jesuatti Book of Remedies


Stata translated and led efforts to digitize the 
libraries' 1562 Jesuatti Book of Remedies. View more
photos of this rare work or the online edition
 of the text, in which you can see images of each page
as well as 
Stata's translations.

When Stata was in her early 80s, she decided to translate a 400-page manuscript at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. The Jesuatti Book of Remedies is a compilation of medical treatments used by the friars of the Order of Saint Jerome to cure sick people around the 16th century. She first taught herself Renaissance Italian, spent four years translating more than 2,000 entries and then initiated efforts to digitize the text.

"This really epitomizes Stata,” said Enna. “She didn’t speak or read Italian. But she didn’t let anything like that stop her."

In addition to their monetary estate gift, the Ringles donated their collection of medical and scientific books to the Clendening History of Medicine Library. Other books, including works of historical and literary interest, went to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library.

One of the top 50 libraries in the Association of Research Libraries by volumes held, and the largest library in Kansas, KU Libraries advance discovery, innovation and learning for KU, the state and a rapidly expanding community of world scholars.

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