Medical center receives $40 million gift
The Columbia University Medical Center announced today that Herbert and Florence Irving, already two of CUMC’s top donors, have made a $40 million donation toward cancer research. The money will go to the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, which Herbert Irving first established with a $10 million gift back in 1997.
The cancer center will use the funds to “recruit and retain new cancer investigators and to support its current investigators, as well as for Cancer Center operations,” according to CUMC. The Irvings have now given almost $200 million to CUMC and the Columbia-affiliated New York Presbyterian Hospital.
CUMC expects to raise more than $200 million during the current fiscal year, and it has already raised $1.8 billion in a capital campaign originally intended to raise $1 billion.
Herbert Irving was a co-founder of Sysco Corporation,the largest food distributor in the United States. After founding the HICCC, he told the New York Times that he began giving money to CUMC in 1987 because he had received excellent care at Columbia-Presbyterian many times.
“I felt a deep obligation to the institution, with its talented doctors and nurses,” he said. “So I began a series of gift giving, which increased as my affluence grew.”
Lee Goldman, dean of the faculties for health sciences and medicine, said in a CUMC statement that the Irvings “have secured their legacy as among the nation’s leading supporters in the fight against cancer.” HICCC director Stephen Emerson said the Irvings “are not only the most important benefactors of our Medical Center, they are visionaries.”
“As our investigators work to bring new advances to cancer patients and their families—building upon the highly promising cancer research discoveries of the past two decades—this extraordinarily generous support from Mr. and Mrs. Irving will go a long way toward expanding our research enterprise, so that we might develop new, better ways both to detect cancer in earlier stages and to treat it in targeted, more efficient ways,” Emerson said.
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