Renowned auto executive supported research to cure type 1 diabetes

BOSTON – (July 3, 2019) — Joslin Diabetes Center, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is paying tribute to the late Lee Iacocca, who passed away on July 2, at age 94. Mr. Iacocca was a generous supporter of research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes through his Iacocca Family Foundation. 

The Mary K. Iacocca Professorship at Harvard Medical School and Joslin Diabetes Center, which is held by C. Ronald Kahn, MD, was established in 1984 in honor of Lee Iacocca’s wife, Mary K. Iacocca. In addition, in his first autobiography, Lee Iacocca committed the profits from the book, initially to the Joslin Diabetes Center, and then later to support diabetes research in other institutions through the Iacocca Family Foundation. 

“Mr. Iacocca was a very forceful and commanding spokesperson for the need for more diabetes research,” said Dr. Kahn. “He was a very quick study and, just as in his businesses, was quick to identify areas that showed promise but needed more investment. He then did not hesitate to ask others to also contribute to further increase the impact of his contributions. He brought this same passion to other causes including the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. He was truly a great man and a great leader.”

Since 1981 Joslin has also awarded more than 120 post-doctoral Mary K. Iacocca Fellowships in diabetes research, supported by the Foundation. The Iacocca Fellows, a truly international group of outstanding young researchers from over 28 countries, have helped make significant, breakthrough discoveries at Joslin. 

Mr. Iacocca established the Iacocca Family Foundation in 1984 in honor of his late wife, Mary K. Iacocca, who died from complications of type 1 diabetes. The Foundation has to date funded more than $40 million in “research programs and projects that will lead to a cure for the disease and alleviate complications caused by it,” according to its website.

We extend our deepest condolences to the Iacocca family.