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New faculty chair is latest gift from Steve and Judy Turner

Jan. 28, 2021, 9:56 AM

Philanthropists Steve and Judy Turner have endowed a new faculty chair in the Department of Neurology.
Philanthropists Steve and Judy Turner have endowed a new faculty chair in the Department of Neurology.

by Paul Govern

Nashville philanthropists Steve and Judy Turner, adding generously to their longtime support of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt University, have endowed a new faculty chair in the Department of Neurology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine: the Judith Payne Turner Chair in Neurology.

“Faculty development is central to everything we do today and everything we aim to achieve in the future,” said Dane Chetkovich, MD, PhD, holder of the Margaret and John Warner Chair for Neurological Education and chair of the Department of Neurology. “Already terrific friends of the Medical Center, with this gift the Turners are helping us to open a new chapter in neurological care, research, education and training at VUMC. These are exciting times in the field of neurology and I’m very grateful to Steve and Judy Turner for this generous and farsighted investment in the future of our program.”

This significant gift is the latest demonstration of the Turners’ deep commitment to VUMC and the diverse community it serves through programs in patient care, research and education.

“We are grateful for the hard work of so many people at Vanderbilt,” said Steve Turner. “We are fortunate to be in a position to make a difference, so we have a responsibility to help delay or cure debilitating diseases such as Parkinson’s for anyone who has them.”

Steve Turner, who studied philosophy and religion at Vanderbilt University (B.A., ’69), is the founder of Nashville real estate investment company Market Street Enterprises. Dubbed the godfather of the Gulch by Nashville Business Journal, Turner is the visionary behind development of the newly vibrant, formerly disregarded district between downtown and Music Row.

Steve Turner’s father, Cal Turner Sr., founded leading national retailer Dollar General (long a corporate sponsor of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt). Along with other members of the Turner family, Steve and Judy Turner are among Nashville’s leading philanthropists.

“Again, the Turner family has stepped forward with an important gift that will strengthen the Medical Center’s future. I want to express my sincere appreciation to Steve and Judy for their generous support as we continue to battle serious and devastating neurologic diseases,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer for VUMC and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

The Turners have over the years taken a direct and consequential interest in Vanderbilt. Steve Turner served on Vanderbilt University’s Board of Trust from 2013 to 2017 and was elected as an emeritus trustee in 2017. He is a past member of the Children’s Hospital board (1989-2007), which he also chaired (1994-96).

Along with Steve’s brother, Cal Turner Jr., and his sister, Laura Jo Dugas, and their families, in 2017 the Turners provided a gift to support capital expansion and telemedicine services at Children’s Hospital. The family’s gift to telemedicine positioned Children’s Hospital to pivot quickly into telehealth as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded.

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