Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

“Cure A Dreaded Human Ailment” Fund


In honor of IMSA Principal Dr. Eric McLaren, the “Cure A Dreaded Human Ailment” Fund (cadha fund) was established in 2010 by Bob and Margaret Hernandez, Stephanie Pace Marshall, Max McGee, Roger Spayer and Cathy Veal. The name of the fund is inspired by the Board of Trustees’ original philosophy statement published in 1986, the year IMSA opened and the year Dr. McLaren began working at IMSA as a resident counselor.

“If we do what we know and feel is right, it is bound to happen that among our graduates there will be numbered scientists, engineers, and those who go on to earn degrees in law and letters. There are likely to be those few who create new intellectual worlds, cure a dreaded human ailment or in some other way significantly influence life on our planet. Our philosophy will be to treat our charges as if each one is capable of this extraordinary achievement.” Dr. Leon Lederman

This fund will support IMSA programming related to curing dreaded human ailments and improving quality of life for those who are afflicted.  Special emphasis will be placed on serious “orphan diseases.” An orphan disease is a rare disease which has not been "adopted" by the pharmaceutical industry because there are not enough patients to make research cost-effective.  An orphan disease can also be a disease which is rare in the industrialized world but common and largely ignored in the developing world. These diseases face special challenges in attracting public attention, research and funding.  Examples of serious orphan diseases are amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cystic fibrosis, encephalitis, and retinal vasculopathy with cerebral leukodystrophy.

Gifts to the cadha fund will support various learning experiences and work for students, staff and others who participate in IMSA programs. Research opportunities, applied technology projects, service and advocacy initiatives, guest speakers and curriculum innovation are examples of eligible activities. To learn more about the cadha funds and the activities it supports, visit

Gifts of all amounts to the IMSA Fund designated for the cadha fund will be deeply appreciated. Gifts can be specified in honor of Dr. McLaren or in honor or in memory of any other individual(s). Visit our Donate Now page to specify your gift to the cadha fund. 

$ to CADHA Fund

Use this link to quickly make your contribution to the cadha fund through paypal (you don't even need a paypal account - just a credit or debit card)

To make your contribution In Memory or In Honor of someone using the link above, enter your PayPal or credit card information and fill out the "note to seller" option in the Special Instructions area. You can also visit our companion online contribution website There you will have the opportunity to name your honoree, and also notify that person or a member of their family of your gift (no need to name the IMSA Fund, we will receive the information as well). Current faculty and staff members of IMSA may participate in payroll deduction. Simply fill contact the Development Office.

The name "Cadha" (ca-dha) is Scottish (like McLaren) and means "from a steep place.”  Though it may require some mountain-moving or traveling unknown and difficult roads and passages, curing a dreaded human ailment and helping others who have the talent and passion to do so are magnanimous ways to advance the human condition.