Legacy of Scranton Alumnus Continues Through Million Dollar Donation
The circle of life has come back to The University of Scranton with a $1 million donation originated by the untimely death of a 23-year-old University graduate and the perseverance of his family.
A biology major at Scranton, David Alan D’Agostino ’81 was captivated by medicine and science. After learning of the advances in tissue transplantation through a lecture he attended at the recommendation of his professor Charles J. Thoman, Ph.D., David shared with his father, Edward A. ’62, and his mother, Evelyn, his wish to one day become an organ and tissue donor.
Following David’s tragic death in a motorcycle accident in 1982, his father recalled this conversation on organ and tissue donation. The D’Agostinos, committed to fulfilling David’s request despite their profound grief, gave unselfishly to help others and became the first musculoskeletal tissue donor family in Pennsylvania.
Inspired by his son’s wish, Edward D’Agostino became an influential member in the establishment of the Pennsylvania Regional Tissue and Transplant Bank (PRTB) in 1982. Edward and Evelyn D’Agostino became supporters of organ and tissue donation statewide.
In 1999-2000, the PRTB merged with the Musculoskeletal Tissue Foundation (MTF), a world-renowned consortium of academic medical institutions, organ procurement and tissue recovery organizations. MTF is the largest tissue bank in the world and provides the largest assortment of grafts available for transplantation. Approximately 275 people from the greater Scranton area are now employed full-time at the MTF facilities in Jessup and Olyphant.
As part of the merger dynamics, the University became the recipient of a grant of $1 million from the Pennsylvania Regional Tissue and Transplant Bank and Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation. To acknowledge this generous donation, The University of Scranton’s histology laboratory, a state-of-the-art room on the second floor of its unified science center, has been named the Pennsylvania Regional Tissue and Transplant Bank Histology Laboratory. This facility will be dedicated to telling David’s story and will be used by students and faculty to collaborate in the study of human and animal tissue.
The Pennsylvania Regional Tissue and Transplant Bank (PRTB), now the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF), presented a donation of $1 million to The University of Scranton. A histology laboratory on the second floor of the University’s new unified science center will be named the Pennsylvania Regional Tissue and Transplant Bank Histology Laboratory. Standing, from left, are the past director of the PRTB Hans Burchardt, Ph.D., now vice president of scientific affairs, MTF; former founding board members of the PRTB Michael M. Costello ’70 consultant, Moses Taylor Health Care System and former president of the University’s Alumni Society; Jerry Weinberger, Esq., Nogi, Appleton, Weinberger & Wren, PC, and former trustee of the University; and Edward A. D’Agostino; and, representing the University, Patrick Leahy, Ed.D., executive vice president, and Rev. Bernard R. McIlhenny, S.J., administrator of the Jesuit community and dean of admissions emeritus.