$4.2 Million Raised at NYU Langone Medical Center’s 2012 Violet Ball

More than 700 Guests Attend Event to Honor One of NYU Langone’s Leading Physician-Scientists and Long-Time Benefactor, Jan Vilcek, MD, PhD and His Wife Marica Vilcek

May 7, 2012 - 11:05am

Dr. Vilcek is Co-Inventor of Anti-Inflammatory Drug Remicade®


$4.2 million in unrestricted funding was raised at NYU Langone Medical Center’s annual Violet Ball, held at Cipriani on 42nd Street in New York City on May 3, 2012. This year’s honorees were Marica Vilcek and Jan Vilcek, MD, PhD, professor, Department of Microbiology at NYU School of Medicine. The Vilceks have generously given more than $120 million to NYU School of Medicine to fund scholarships, research, and the new medical student residence hall. Their ongoing support is an outward display of their deep gratitude for the many opportunities the Medical Center has provided Dr. Vilcek as his intellectual home.

Each year the Violet Ball celebrates NYU Langone’s continuing tradition of excellence in education, research and patient care. Funds raised are used to advance the Medical Center’s bold vision and strengthen its role as a rich resource for the diverse communities of New York and beyond.

Addressing an audience of more than 700 guests, Robert I. Grossman, MD, dean and CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center said, “Tonight we celebrate two remarkable philanthropists whose generosity has impacted the lives of many of our students and researchers and has left an eternal mark on our institution as a whole. We thank Jan and Marica Vilcek for their continued friendship, incredible commitment, and dedication to advancing science and medical education.”

Dr. Vilcek is one of the Medical Center’s leading physician-scientists, holding 46 patents and having published more than 350 scholarly papers. In 1989 Dr. Vilcek was the co-inventor in generating a monoclonal antibody against tumor necrosis factor (TNF)—a powerful promoter of inflammation—that lead to the development of Remicade®, which has helped more than one million people world-wide. The success of Remicade® spurred the development of other anti-TNF agents used to treat a variety of inflammatory conditions.

Dr. Vilcek’s wife, Marica, is a gifted art historian. Born in Bratislava, Slovakia (then Czechoslovakia), Marica earned advanced degrees in art history at the Comenius University in Bratislava and Charles University in Prague and secured one of the few available curatorial positions in the Department of Prints and Drawings of the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava. The Vilceks left communist Czechoslovakia in 1964 and arrived in New York in 1965 with their possessions packed inside a pair of suitcases. Within a few months, Marica joined the staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she remained for 32 years. During her tenure she served as Associate Curator in Charge of the Accessions and Catalogue Department. Marica has also served as an independent consultant to non-profit organizations including the Commission for Art Recovery of the World Jewish Congress, the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, the Foundation for a Civil Society, and the Bard Graduate Center in New York. She has also advised private collectors and corporations, and lectured widely on collections management.

In 2000 The Vilceks founded The Vilcek Foundation to honor and publicize the enormous contributions immigrants have made to biomedical science and the arts in the United States.   The Foundation’s mission, where Marica serves as vice president and co-founder, derives in large part from her interest and professional work in the arts and as an art historian.

Guests in attendance at this year’s Violet Ball include: Anne Akers Benvenuto, Art Benvenuto,  Denise Benmosche, William and Marjorie Berkley, Dr. Robert Berne and Shelley Berne, Tony and Carol Carbonetti, Dr. Elisabeth Cohen, Carol Feinberg, Lori and Laurence Fink, Lola Finkelstein, Dr. Max Gomez, Trudy and Robert Gottesman, George and Lori Hall, Sylvia Hassenfeld, Drs. Irma and Andrew Hilton, Helen Kimmel, Elaine Langone, Larry and Dalia Leeds, Martin Lipton, Vivian and Edward Merrin, Sandy Meyer, Patty Newburger, John Sexton, president of New York University, Norma and Gordon Smith, Robin Smith, MD, MBA, Sam and Nancy Sutton, Alice and Tom Tisch, Billie Tisch, Brad Wechsler, and Anthony Welters.

Kenneth G. Langone, chair of the Board of Trustees at NYU Langone, was Gala Chair, and Dean Grossman was Physician Committee Chair of the event.

Media Inquiries:
Deborah (DJ) Sabalusky
212.404.3567  | Deborah.Sabalusky@nyumc.org