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Norm and Denise Wells make $1.5 million gift to Summa Health

Health system's first endowed chair in urology honors Drs. Dankoff and Spear

Drs. Joseph Dankoff (left) and Kevin Spear

A $1.5 million leadership gift from community philanthropists Denise and Norm Wells will establish the first endowed chair in urology at Summa Health. This honor will be known as The Denise G. and Norman E. Wells Jr. Endowed Chair in Urology in Honor of Joseph Dankoff, M.D., and Kevin Spear, M.D. Dr. Spear will be appointed the first holder of the chair. 

“The endowed chair position will have a tremendous impact for our department,” said Dr. Spear. “It will provide lasting support for programming and research in urology. We are deeply grateful to Denise and Norm for their generosity.”

“The endowed chair in urology, the fifth chair at Summa, will advance innovative patient care and help us recruit, train and retain the highest quality providers in urology,” said Dr. Cliff Deveny, Summa Health president and chief executive officer. “Denise and Norm are known for their long-standing generosity and dedicated leadership at Summa. Their kindness will have a profound and lasting impact on our health system for generations to come.”

Norm Wells, a retired private equity and aluminum industry executive, had a long and impactful nine-year tenure on the Summa Health Board of Directors, serving as chair from 2012 to 2014. Prior to his service on the Summa Health Board of Directors, he served as chair of the Summa Foundation Board. He and his wife have long-standing philanthropic interests and community involvement in Northeast Ohio’s major institutions, including the arts, education and healthcare.

“Summa Health has benefited our family for decades, and we want to ensure that it will benefit our community for years to come,” said Norm Wells. “Denise and I hope our gift helps to attract more urologists like Dr. Dankoff and Dr. Spear, who will practice and live right here in the Akron area.”

In addition to urology, Denise and Norm Wells have provided significant support for Summa nurses, hospice and palliative care, and the Summa Health Cancer Institute. Denise Wells has been a strategic advisor and committed advocate and ambassador through her leadership as former chair of the Summa Health Seniors Institute Leadership Council. She works to advance exceptional healthcare for women through her Marie Lawson Society membership in the Summa Foundation Circle of Women’s Health Philanthropists.

Denise and Norm Wells reside in Aurora, Ohio, and Bonita Springs, Florida. They have two children and four grandchildren.

The Wells gift of $1.5 million brings the organization and the community one step closer to reaching the $75 million goal of the campaign for Summa Health, “Caring for You…Then, Now, Always.” To date, more than $68.5 million has been raised to empower clinical excellence and enhance the patient experience. 

Donor-supported chairs at Summa Health

  • Vincent and Nancy DiGirolamo Endowed Chair in Oncology, held by Gilbert Padula, M.D.
  • Jim and Vanita Oelschlager Endowed Chair in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, held by Joseph Varley, M.D.
  • Jim and Vanita Oelschlager Chair in Traumatic Stress, held by Patrick Palmieri, Ph.D.
  • Vivian E. von Gruenigen, M.D., Endowed Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology, held by Edward Ferris, M.D.
  • Denise G. and Norman E. Wells Jr. Endowed Chair in Urology in Honor of Joseph Dankoff, M.D., and Kevin Spear, M.D., held by Dr. Spear




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