BLOOMINGTON - A major donation from an Indiana University alumnus will help further research in substance use disorder and addiction. The $1.5 million gift from David Naus will create the Naus Family Chair in Psychological and Brain Sciences on the Bloomington campus.

IU says the gift will enhance the university's efforts to address the issue through the $50 million Grand Challenge initiative, "Responding to the Addictions Crisis," which was announced in October. Fred Cate, vice president for research at IU, says Naus made the offer shortly after the initiative was unveiled.

The gift will initially be used to recruit a new faculty member to the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. IU says that person will have a "record of exceptional addiction-related research and teaching as well as a demonstrated ability to attract robust external funding." 

IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel adds the gift will advance the university's ability to address addictions in Indiana and beyond. 

"Our pre-eminent Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences is home to the oldest continuing psychology laboratory in America, where IU's world-class researchers continue to break new ground in the fields of neuroscience, concussions and animal behavior, among many other areas of foci," said Robel. "Addiction is one of our state's greatest challenges, and David Naus' gift will provide critical support for our efforts to tackle this growing problem."

Naus graduated from IU in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and economics. He founded Denver-based Equity West Investment Partners in 2007 and last fall, received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

"Addiction is such a highly misunderstood and pervasive disease, I felt compelled to act," Naus said. "Addiction is a family disease -- it often emanates from family disorder, and it is a disorder that often affects everyone in the family. It only made sense to leave a legacy in a family name; I am fortunate it is mine. I couldn't be more proud of IU and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences for taking the lead on this extraordinarily vital societal issue."