Foundation Mission & History

Doc Irene
Irene and C.B. “Doc” Pennington.

The mission of Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation is to support the work of LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, which aims to discover the triggers of chronic diseases through innovative research that improves human health.

Over the last 30 years, Pennington Biomedical’s world-renowned scientists have made remarkable discoveries that have improved the way Americans exercise, eat, age and think about obesity, diabetes, dementia and other chronic diseases.

Pennington Biomedical researchers have been involved in the development of every obesity medication on the market today and many diabetes medications. Pennington Biomedical’s research helped shape the DASH Diet, consistently ranked the No. 1 diet in America by U.S. News & World Report. And, Pennington Biomedical’s science is helping the U.S. military and their families stay healthy.

But, many questions remain about the triggers and treatment of these devastating illnesses.

Gifts from individuals, foundations and businesses accelerate the exploration of new ideas, innovative techniques and powerful technologies.

By contributing to Pennington Biomedical, you have the power to help people in Louisiana, throughout the United States and across the globe live longer, healthier lives.

Foundation History

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is a world leader in the research of obesity, diabetes, dementia and other chronic diseases.

In 1980, C.B. “Doc” Pennington and his wife, Irene, made a pledge to LSU, which was one of the most generous gifts ever from a private individual to a public institution. Doc Pennington’s directions were simple: “Build me the best nutritional research center in the country.”

It was important to Doc that others join this effort and contribute to the success of this endeavor. John Barton, Sr., Leonard Nachman, Chuck McCoy, Bob Greer, Bill Wright, Terrell Brown,Kevin Reilly, Sr., and other community leaders came together to find the necessary funding to recruit and hire the Center’s first executive director, George Bray, Ph.D. These same leaders helped to launch a major campaign to raise unrestricted funds, essential for commencing operations of the Center.

Over the years, the Foundation has played a valuable role in supporting the Center. The Foundation maintains the Center’s endowments, which include six professorships and 11 chairs and seeks to create additional avenues of funding that allow the Center to grow and help to bridge funding gaps.

Charitable gifts from donors provide essential leverage that permits Pennington Biomedical researchers to acquire federal and state funding. Those gifts help turn science into practical health solutions by supporting faculty researchers and their projects; enabling exploration of the underlying causes of disease and new treatments; and, by affording young researchers an opportunity to blossom and grow.

Our generous founders, C.B. “Doc” and Irene Pennington, had tremendous foresight and wisdom regarding the future of health research. Their vision was to provide the laboratories and facilities, but they challenged others to fill these buildings with top-notch researchers and world-renowned science.

Today, philanthropy from our generous donors plays a key role in accelerating scientific progress, recruiting top scientists from around the world and promoting research that enables longer, healthier lives for people everywhere.

We invite you to join our efforts.