Western Reserve University medical school alumnus Rocco L. Motto passed away last fall just a year shy of his 65th class reunion, but his wife, Verna "Vee" Houck Motto, has made sure that the Motto family's legacy will live on at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
Vee Motto has donated $1 million to the School of Medicine to help establish the Rocco L. Motto, M.D. Professorship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The gift was announced during a private reception over Alumni Weekend. Mrs. Motto , who marked her own 65th reunion from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve, traveled to campus from her Los Angeles, California home to celebrate the announcement with family and friends.
"Being a doctor was the most important thing in Roc's life," Mrs. Motto noted. "There was no question that the best way to honor him was to give to Case Western Reserve School of Medicine."
Pamela B. Davis, dean and vice president of medical affairs at the School, expressed the University's appreciation for the Motto's extensive philanthropy to Case Western Reserve and many institutions in Northeast Ohio and around the world: "The Mottos have had an unwavering commitment and passion for progress in medical science, the arts, and social work for the betterment of society. It is civic leadership and support like theirs that strengthens the bond between alumni and the university."
Rocco L. Motto's pioneering work in psychiatry helped establish the specialty field of child psychiatry. He was a founder of the Graduate Center for Child Development and Psychotherapy in Los Angeles. The center is now part of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, which offers a range of psychotherapy services to children, adolescents and young adults. Dr. Motto died on Oct. 30, 2006, at his home in Los Angeles at 89.
Vee Motto praised her husband's work and said the establishment of the Motto professorship in child and adolescent psychiatry was a tribute to his devotion to children's mental health.
"He realized the sooner you reach someone young who has a problem, the better chance he or she will have in their adult life," she said. "Right now we must put an emphasis on educating the next generation of doctors and other health care professionals that good mental health is essential to a child's development."
In recent years, the Mottos have made several philanthropic contributions to the university, including support for the department of ophthalmology at the School of Medicine. In celebration of their 55th wedding anniversary, Dr. Motto endowed the Verna Houck Motto Professorship at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences in his wife's honor. Dr. and Mrs. Motto also endowed a chair in sculpture and fine arts at the Cleveland Institute of Art in honor of Rocco Motto's brother, Joseph, and made a significant contribution to Camp Ho Mita Koda, a summer camp in Geauga County for children with diabetes.