MU receives $2.4 million for endowed chair in cancer research

Thursday, August 21, 2014 | 9:13 p.m. CDT; updated 10:36 p.m. CDT, Thursday, August 21, 2014

COLUMBIA —  A former student has donated $2.4 million to create an endowed chair in oncology and to fund cancer research at the MU School of Medicine, according to an MU news release.

Mark McAndrew, a 1975 MU graduate, made the donation in honor of his late aunt, Frances McAndrew, who battled cancer and received treatment at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center.

“Frances always spoke highly of the top-notch care she received at the MU Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, and I hope this gift will continue to advance the premier research and care the MU health system provides,” McAndrew said in the news release.

A national search will begin soon to find a researcher to occupy the Frances McAndrew Endowed Chair in Oncology, according to the release.

Four hundred thousand dollars of the gift has already gone toward funding for MU cancer researcher Fred Hawthorne, who is exploring boron-neutron therapy as a cancer treatment, said Carol Krause, administrative assistant at MU's International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine.

McAndrew was inspired to make his donation after reading an essay by Noah Wald-Dickler, a graduate of the MU School of Medicine who treated Frances in the clinic. In his essay, Wald-Dickler described the experience of treating Frances, and spoke of the example of "compassion and strength" that she and the McAndrew family provided for him.

McAndrew, a member of the Mizzou Alumni Association,  , has given more than $3.8 million to MU in the past, including a $1.4 million donation to the Flagship Scholars program in 2008. McAndrew retired as chairman and CEO of Torchmark, a financial services holding company specializing in life and health insurance.

MU officials are hopeful that McAndrew's gift will put the university in a prime position to make meaningful contributions to cancer research.

“This gift will allow MU to attract and retain the highest caliber cancer researchers for decades to come," MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said in the news release. "The fight against cancer is a long battle, but with strong support such as this, MU will play a leading role in future advancements in treatments.”

Supervising editor is Landon Woodroof.

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