When I wrote that the next piece of MWS history would cover 1985-1989, I did not anticipate that there would be so much ground to cover.
So this will cover only 1985-1987.
By 1985 we were on our own. The Pap Institute had closed. We realized that we were an informal group of faculty, staging an event with a six figure budget, and had to face the possibility of a financial loss. This had not happened, but was to do so in 1992 and 2007.
As an informal group, we were not likely to be able to insure against loss, something we always did when we did become organized . Any loss might rebound on the department, or on ourselves.
I learned that the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine allowed its departments to create foundations to handle private funds. Ideal. I went to Cincinnati and boiler plated their by laws. Our University Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Foundation is incorporated in Ohio. The only change I made was in the governance.
The trustees are the tenured faculty. The chair is the president. I thought the Cincinnati bylaws gave the president too much power. Here, the trustees can outvote the president. Note, that as in Cincinnati, the name of the University is not included.
The Dean approved our action.
That we were able to call it the BMB Foundation was because in 1987, the University approved the name change
to include molecular biology .
In 1986 we left Miami Beach to move to the new downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel, opened as a convention center that included a U of Miami campus and City of Miami convention space, with a large arena. This was to prove invaluable in 1988, of which more later.
We obtained tax exemption for the Foundation, so we did not have to pay tax on surpluses. We registered the name of the MWS with the State because we noticed that “Miami Winter” was being copied. The Miami Winter Games were staged in the Hyatt. We were able to insure the MWS against a loss. The BMB department and we, as individuals, were now protected.
The stage was set for an unexpected event that could not have happened without the ability of a Foundation to enter into a legal contract.
We had begun to attract exhibitors, who added to the attractions of the MWS , and to its income. A regular exhibitor was Nature, which, through its new journal, Bio/Technology, was staging competing symposia in
Boston and New Orleans. They approached us and offered to cancel their own events if we would merge and become the Miami Bio/Technology Winter Symposia.
After some hesitation, we accepted and the first such symposium was held in 1988.
As always, watch this space.