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Finding Solutions: John and Marva Warnock Supporting Moran Research to Cure Blinding Diseases

John and Marva Warnock
John and Marva Warnock

Adobe Systems Inc. founder and mathematician John E. Warnock, PhD, is no stranger to solving tough problems.

He’s known around the world for creating a way for people to exchange documents electronically—the now ubiquitous PDF, or portable document format. Even as an undergraduate at the University of Utah, Warnock developed a breakthrough algorithm that tells a computer how to render a complex image.

Now he and his wife, Marva, are joining efforts to find solutions to an even larger challenge: blinding diseases afflicting millions of people. The couple recently gifted $5 million to support ongoing research at the John A. Moran Eye Center.

A Dedication to Advancing Science

"It’s especially important to support research at its most fundamental scientific level, where discovery and understanding can build upon themselves until we are able to create solutions for some of the toughest eye diseases out there," said Warnock. "I believe it’s possible, but only with support from those dedicated to advancing science."

Marva Warnock, a former partner and graphic designer at Marsh Design in Palo Alto, California, is known not only for creating the iconic Adobe logo, but also as a designer for nonprofit organizations. She is a longtime supporter of civic engagement, human rights with a passionate interest in the rights of all people, the arts, and technology.

"Advances in technology, and science, have changed the way we live and the way we work," she said. "Now I believe they will change health care, and the researchers at Moran are as close as anyone in the country to major breakthroughs. I can’t wait to see what happens in the coming years."

Moran Eye Center CEO Randall J Olson, MD, shares the couple’s dedication to finding cures for diseases that ravage sight.

"Regardless of whether you’re in medicine or technology, discoveries are about persistence, about knowing that you’ve got a revolutionary idea and pursuing it," said Olson. "No one understands that better than John and Marva, and we can’t thank them enough for their support."

A photo of Alan S. Crandall, MD.
Alan S. Crandall, MD.

A Generous History at the University of Utah

The Warnock gift represents the latest in a generous history at their alma mater.

In 2003, the pair secured the future of the John E. and Marva M. Warnock Engineering Building. Completed in 2007, it represents one of the most sophisticated engineering school facilities in the country. Across campus, the Warnocks have endowed chairs for faculty members in mathematics, computer science, and art.

At the Moran Eye Center, Alan S. Crandall, MD, holds the John E. and Marva M. Warnock Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology.