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Former Generac owners donated $67M to Mayo Clinic in August

Mayo Clinic Complex
Mayo Clinic Complex

ROCHESTER, MN (WTAQ) - The former owners of a Waukesha industry have donated $100 million to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota. 

Mayo announced Wednesday that Robert and Patricia Kern agreed in August to give $67 million to the "Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery." 

The Kerns gave Mayo another $20 million in 2011 to launch the center, which will use quality and engineering principles to improve how patients get their health care. As part of the gift, the new center will be named in the Kerns' honor. 

The couple has also given $13 million in recent years to support Mayo's neuroscience research and education. 

Robert Kern, who's now 87, started going to the Mayo Clinic at age 5 for specialized care. He founded Generac Power Systems in Waukesha in 1959. 

The company makes portable electric generators, and is now publicly-owned.

Mayo is not the only medical group getting a large donation from the Kerns. They pledged $10 million to the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2009 to hire researchers and help buy new equipment to identify disease-curing molecules. 

The Kerns also donated $1 million in 2007 for a new fine arts and recreation center in Robert's home town of Osage Iowa. 

In 2006, the year the couple sold Generac, they thanked the employees by giving them up to $50,000 each in Christmas bonuses.

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