MU receives $2.4 million for cancer research, oncology

The donation will be used to fund cancer research and create the Frances T. McAndrew Endowed Chair in Oncology.
Mark McAndrew speaks at a news conference on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 at the Reynolds Alumni Center.

The School of Medicine announced on Thursday that it received a $2.4 million donation from MU alumnus Mark McAndrew.

Two million dollars of the donation will fund the creation of the Frances T. McAndrew Endowed Chair in Oncology; $400,000 will fund boron-neutron therapy and cancer research conducted by Fred Hawthorne, director of the International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine.

Mark McAndrew said he was inspired by his late aunt Frances McAndrew — who received treatment at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and spoke highly of the center — to make the donation.

Mark McAndrew said another reason he donated was because of his personal ties to MU and the prestige of the University’s Health Care System.

“Particularly rural Missouri looks to the university for care that is beyond something routine,” Mark McAndrew said. “This (donation) was one of the things that could be done to raise that level of care and research.”

Hal Williamson, Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs, said he appreciates the opportunities the gift will give the School of Medicine to further cancer research and treatment at MU.

Les Hall, the School of Medicine interim dean, said MU Health Care will use the donation to help change the facility into a world-class cancer treatment facility.

“The main impact (from the donation) will increase the ability to recruit high-level faculty to the hospital,” Hall said.

According to a news release, a national search to hire the first researcher for the endowed chair will begin soon.

“With this gift, all the right things are happening to have the School of Medicine reach a new level,” Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said at the gift announcement.

McAndrew has donated over $3.8 million to the university. Past gifts include $1.4 million to fund the Clark County Flagship Scholarship, which provides four-year academic scholarships to MU students from Clark County.

A native of a rural Missouri town, Mark McAndrew was given a scholarship to MU, which he said made it possible for him to attend. He graduated in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

He recently retired as chairman and chief executive officer of Torchmark, a holding company specializing in life and supplemental health insurance, according to a news release.

McAndrew explained that without the education he received at MU, he would not have been able to make this donation.

“Without the opportunity to attend (MU), most doors wouldn’t have been opened for me,” McAndrew said. “I owe this university so much.”

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