Upcoming $65 Million facility breaks ground near vet school

Nicole Towne

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A rendering of the C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute. (Photo courtesy of the Equine Orthopaedic Research Center).

Ground was symbolically broken with shiny, engraved shovels on June 2 for a new multimillion dollar facility at Colorado State University.

The C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute will be coming to CSU’s veterinary campus, just south of the main campus fall of 2018.


The $65 million facility will be named after current CSU Clinical Science Professor Wayne McIlwraith, who has been at CSU for over 30 years. McIlwraith is known for his work in the equine sciences, specifically caring for the joints of horses and preventing disease, according to an article released by SOURCE.

The new facility will have three floors. The lower level will consist of a surgery center, the middle floor will house bimolecular and biochemical research and the top floor will hold an auditorium.

“The vision with the new center is to do everything we still do for horses, but doing a lot more for humans because there is a lot of commonality with the conditions,” McIlwraith said. “The center will do research for human orthopaedics as well.”

McIlwraith said the center will allow clinical research to take place.

“If you’re going to get a technique into human licensing or into the human patient, you have to do pre-clinical research in animals.”

McIlwraith said that one off the issues with orthopaedic research is that it takes a long time to get to the patient. One of the goals of the Translational Medicine Institute is to address that.

The institute has been compared to a co-operative: it will help people or groups who want to test ideas and theories related to translational medicine, and hopefully bring the research to the patients.

During the groundbreaking ceremony CSU President Tony Frank spoke about how he felt the word “translational” was fitting for the new building.

“(“Translational”) has a couple different meanings, but one of them is to move across, to move from one place to another,” Frank said. “And, I think that’s appropriate because if you think about what’s going to happen in this facility, we will be moving things from the bench (and) the laboratory to the hospital. We will be moving from theory into practice. We will be moving patients from disease into health.”

The C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute is being made possible by a series of donors as well as by funding from CSU. According to SOURCE, John and Leslie Malone were the foundational donors for the project, giving $42.5 million dollars for the cause.


Princess Abigail K. Kawananakoa, a member of the royal Hawaiian family and a friend of McIlwraith donated $20 million. It was Kawananakoa who asked that the new facility be named in Mcllwraith’s honor.

According to an article published by SOURCE, Kawananakoa said, “I’ve known Wayne for 30 years, and he has provided the world’s best orthopaedic care for my horses. During this time, I’ve gained insights into the work of the CSU Orthopaedic Research Center and have seen first-hand how its discoveries improve horse health with novel approaches to treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation.”

McIlwraith said having the facility named after him was a great honor.

“Initially I was a bit apprehensive (about) how people would see an active faculty member having a building named after him … but everybody has been so great about it,” McIlwraith said. “I’m incredibly honored. I’m excited about it now.”

Collegian reporter Nicole Towne can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @nicole_towne21.