Tycoon's food research donation is a healthy sum

May 10, 2013 

One could say that David Murdock puts his money where his mouth is, literally and figuratively. Counting the money he’s put into a Kannapolis research campus and an institute there that bears his name, his gifts run to over $700 million. With a $50 million gift for operating money this week, the total is ever-climbing.

From humble beginnings, the 90-year-old Murdock, with only an 8th grade education, built a multi-billion dollar fortune buying and selling and running large businesses. His would be a remarkable story even without his generosity, but that he would devote so much money and energy to healthy living, with a special interest in healthy eating, adds a dimension to his legacy. For his part, Murdock practices what he preaches, eating only fruits, vegetables and seafood.

“I’m a little bit older than most of the people in this room,” he said at the announcement of his gift, “but I’ll bet I am healthier than most of you. ...Now there are genetic diseases that we cannot avoid, but I believe that we can avoid most of them if we have the knowledge of how to eat and what to eat.”

The 350-acre research campus is vibrant and hosts many esteemed scientists, but like most such ventures, the financial hard times of recent years have made it more difficult to keep going at a high level. Murdock’s gift will be a shot in the arm (not that Murdock would have much to do with real shots, you understand) that will permit the continuation of important research.

Murdock is a philanthropist who means to do good and to get results. That’s why he says he’s “pushing” for “major discoveries.” He’ll probably get them, too. And the way he eats and lives, chances are he’ll be around to see them.

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