Parties: Brain Trust

by Catherine Bigelow | Photography by Drew Altizer

Philanthropists Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem hosted an intimate soiree on April 23 — featuring a McCalls feast, accompanied by San Francisco Symphony musicians — to celebrate the opening of the state-of-the-art, $18 million UCSF Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Neurology Clinic, housed within the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Neurosciences Building in Mission Bay.

UCSF Chancellor Dr. Sam Hawgood described the couple as “modern-day Medicis” for their generous support of science, art, education and music.

“Jan and I are humbled that we are privileged to help the many families affected by neurological diseases,” said Manetti Shrem. “We’ve chosen to give whatever we have now, with warm hands. The ultimate art of living is the art of giving.”

The 282,500-square-foot Weill building, which opened in July 2021 with a $185 million gift — UCSF’s largest-ever — from philanthropists Joan and Sandy Weill, now serves as a multidisciplinary hub for the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences.

Exquisitely designed by architect Mark Cavagnero, the six-floor, glass-walled facade is sheathed by light screens, crowned by a skylit atrium and divided in two sections —inspired by the brain’s hemispheres. This center is now one of the world’s largest, encompassing cutting-edge research, labs and treatment for psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases.

“Jan and Maria allowed us to create a clinic for some of the most difficult cases in the world,” toasted Dr. S. Andrew Josephson, UCSF Department of Neurology chair. “Under the leadership of Dr. Hawgood and Dr. Talmadge King (UCSF School of Medicine dean), we seek to break down silos. This Shrem clinic, amid the Weill Building, is extraordinary: a one-stop shop. Our vision is to assist patients with brain disorders, who not only need a neurologist but may require psychiatric care or neurosurgery.”

In a ceremony welcoming Drs. Maggie Waung and Alexandra Brown, the Shrems also endowed two new professorships.

“This clinic is a step forward for patients whose lives are compromised by neurological conditions not easily defined,” said Shrem, an entrepreneur who rose from a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman while in college at UCLA to found Clos Pegase winery in Napa. “A productive life is not possible without good health.”

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