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David Zee, M.D. and Paul and Betty Cinquegrana Professorship

PAUL CINQUEGRANA loved Italy. So did his neurologist, David Zee. At his first appointment with Zee, in 2001, Cinquegrana learned that he had multiple system atrophy (MSA), a rare neurological condition that shares many symptoms with Parkinson’s Disease. During their meetings in the years that followed, the pair would of course talk about Cinquegrana’s condition and Zee’s research in that field; yet, their conversations inevitably gravitated to the happy topic of Italy.

Paul Cinquegrana died in 2007. In memory of her husband of 38 years, and in recognition of his close rapport with Zee, his widow, BETTY CINQUEGRANA, made an initial donation to Johns Hopkins to support the work of a research fellow in Zee’s lab. That gift was the first of many over more than a decade of friendship that culminated in an estate gift from Betty that provided the majority of the funds to establish the David Zee, M.D. and Paul and Betty Cinquegrana Professorship.

When making the gifts, Betty recalled the relationship between Paul and David Zee: “It was amazing. Dr. Zee could give him such bad news, and Paul still wanted to go see him.” The gifts, she said, “were in appreciation for Dr. Zee’s being such a wonderful diagnostician and a wonderful doctor, plus the hope that it would help others with this disease.” Her husband, she said, had visited at least seven doctors in search of an explanation for his symptoms before a neurologist in the community referred him to Zee, who was able to make the correct diagnosis.

The Cinquegranas were philanthropists in every sense of the word. They not only supported Johns Hopkins Medicine, but also the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, Dematha High School, and other local charities.