Local philanthropist Carol Vassiliadis has donated gifts totaling $8.5 million to the University of California, San Diego for the future development of the Jacobs Medical Center.

"The people at UC San Diego truly believe in what they are doing,” Vassiliadis said. “And if, with the Jacobs Medical Center, we are helping people survive, we are doing something very important."

In honor of her support, the new facility - opening in 2016 - will be home to the A. Vassiliadis Family Hospital for Advanced Surgery.

A portion of Vassiliadis’ support was also matched by an anonymous donor as part of a Jacobs Medical Center Challenge grant, for a total of $12 million in gifts.

Vassiliadis’ husband, Alkiviadis or "Laki," passed away from colon cancer in 2002. Carol Vassiliadis began her philanthropy at UC San Diego initially to honor her late husband’s legacy with a fellowship for cancer prevention, followed by support for the Healthy Eating and Living Program at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Now, she has chosen to name the A. Vassiliadis Family Hospital for Advanced Surgery, housed on the second and third floors of the Jacobs Medical Center, for her husband and family.

"Thanks to Carol Vassiliadis’s visionary support, the A. Vassiliadis Family Hospital for Advanced Surgery will be among the most technologically advanced surgical facilities in the nation," said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. "UC San Diego is proud to offer state-of-the-art healthcare options for patients who need them. Together, with generous donors like Carol, we are creating a healthier world, one patient at a time.”

The Jacobs Medical Center, currently under construction and projected to open in 2016, is a 10-story facility that will include three important clinical care units in one location: the A. Vassiliadis Family Hospital for Advanced Surgery, The Pauline and Stanley Foster Hospital for Cancer Care, and the Hospital for Women and Infants.

The hospital will have 14 new, 650-square-foot operating rooms. These rooms are larger than a standard OR and the ideal size to accommodate rapid changes in technology. The operating room designs incorporate input from the UC San Diego Center for the Future of Surgery, which was established to research, design and teach the most safe and effective surgeries.

The A. Vassiliadis Family Hospital for Advanced Surgery will offer patients access to more than 200 surgeons who specialize in complex procedures for all medical conditions including MRI-guided gene therapy for brain cancer, heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy for abdominal cancers, and complex spine and joint reconstruction.