garden at KU Medical Center

$2 million gift to support asthma research and education at KU Medical Center

Pam Padgett
Pam Padgett
December 17, 1959 — June 26, 1974

University of Kansas alumni Gary and Sue Padgett understand the importance of advancing new and better ways to prevent and treat asthma. The disease claimed the life of their 14-year-old daughter, Pam, in 1974. 

The Padgetts’ gift of $2 million will support asthma research and education at the University of Kansas Medical Center. They reside in Greenleaf, Kan., and Lawrence, Kan.

“We lost our daughter to asthma,” said Gary Padgett, “and we hope this gift will help alleviate this pain for others.”

"I can no longer see your face nor hear your voice, but through you I walk the earth." — from an unattributed quote that Pam had taped to a shelf in her bedroom

Pam Padgett was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 2, and she understood how serious her condition was. As a young teen, she taped the following unattributed quote to a bookshelf in her bedroom, “I can no longer see your face nor hear your voice, but through you I walk the earth.” 

Their gift to KU Endowment created the Pam Padgett Asthma Education and Research fund, which will permanently support asthma symposia, fellowships, education and research in KU Medical Center’s Pulmonary and Critical Care Division of the Department of Internal Medicine.

Gary Padgett said he and his wife hope that physicians throughout Kansas will benefit from the symposiums and stay abreast of the latest treatments for asthma.

In recent years, the incidence of asthma has reached historically high levels in the United States, where more than 24 million people now suffer from the disease. 

KU Medical Center Interim Executive Vice Chancellor Steven Stites, M.D., expressed appreciation for the gift. A practicing pulmonologist, Stites knows first-hand the significance of the Padgetts’ gift. He said the scientists and physician educators in the medical center’s Pulmonary and Critical Care division are dedicated to delivering state-of-the-art patient care, training the best future physicians and expanding their research programs. 

“Thanks to the generosity of Gary and Sue Padgett, our pulmonary division will be able to provide even more educational programs,” said Stites. “At the same time, faculty, students and future patients will benefit enormously from additional research opportunities. We are grateful to the Padgetts, along with so many other members of the community, for supporting the research and educational excellence on this campus.”



The gift is part of Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The campaign is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Rosita McCoy

Senior Vice President, Communications and Marketing 785-832-7336

Michelle Tevis

Senior Editor, Media Relations 785-832-7363