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James and Marguerite Pearson gift of $2 million establishes endowed chair for Akron Children’s Hospital

Marguerite and James Pearson with granddaughter Elise Bonsky

06-14-2021 (Akron, Ohio)

A $2 million gift from James and Marguerite Pearson has established the James F. and Marguerite A. Pearson Endowed Chair in NeuroDevelopmental Sciences for Rare Diseases at Akron Children’s Hospital.    

Pediatric neurologist Dr. Vivek Veluchamy will hold the chair. The Pearsons, of Wadsworth, made the gift in appreciation of the care their granddaughter, Elise Bonsky of Copley, receives at Akron Children's Hospitals' NeuroDevelopmental Science Center (NDSC).

The chair was created to recognize outstanding performance, provide a tool to recruit and retain talent, and serve as funding to support NDSC patients and families. 

The new chair was announced June 10 at the NDSC, where the Pearsons were thanked by Grace Wakulchik, president and CEO of Akron Children’s, for their support of the department.  

“The Pearsons have seen firsthand the specialized work that we do in our NeuroDevelopmental Science Center,” Wakulchik said. “We are grateful for their generosity and honored to name Dr. Veluchamy to this chair to recognize his outstanding work and special relationship with their family.” 

Veluchamy has treated Elise, 9, for Alexander disease, a rare disorder of the nervous system. 

Dr. Vivek Veluchamy

“Dr. Veluchamy has been instrumental in the care Elise has received the past seven years,” said James Pearson. “We believe Elise is doing so well because of the care Dr. Veluchamy has provided. Our family is beyond grateful, and we hope our support can help other families in need of care that can truly improve a child’s quality of life.” 

The Pearsons’ gift and creation of the chair were a surprise for Veluchamy, who was cheered by his staff and family. 

“I am grateful, overwhelmed and surprised,” said Veluchamy, a Bath resident. “It’s been a privilege to help Elise and her family these past few years, and I’m touched by their support of the NDSC.” 

Akron Children’s NDSC brings together five pediatric specialties under one roof to deliver the best outcomes and quality of life for children and families affected by neurological and developmental disorders. The center, located in the Considine Professional Building, 215 W. Bowery St., includes pediatric experts in developmental and behavioral pediatrics, neurobehavioral psychology, neurology, neurosurgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation.