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Mays Family Foundation marks CTRC anniversary with $5 million gift

The Mays Family Foundation presents a $5 million check to the Health Science Center.

(from left) Dr. Ian M. Thompson Jr., Bill Johnson, Paige Johnson, Kathy Mays Johnson, Mark Mays, Ryan Mays, Peggy Mays, Margot Mays, Randall Mays and Dr. William L. Henrich

Since its founding more than 40 years ago, the Cancer Therapy & Research Center has grown in stature, scope, funding, patient care and research. But there’s been at least one constant: the support of Lowry and Peggy Mays. The couple has long been involved in the effort to make the CTRC the premier cancer treatment and research center in South Texas.

In January, at the CTRC’s 40th Anniversary Reunion Dinner, the Mays Family Foundation announced a gift of $5 million to endow the Mays Family Foundation Distinguished University Presidential Chair for the director of the CTRC.

“We are delighted to honor the CTRC for its 40 years of life-changing work and support its aspirations for the future,” said Lowry Mays, foundation founder.

CTRC director Ian M. Thompson Jr., M.D., said the family’s support helps ensure the level of excellence that has become expected from the CTRC.

“This endowment is an extraordinary gift that will fuel opportunities for scientific breakthroughs and invest in the best and brightest minds in cancer research,” he said.

In a time of diminishing funding for scientific research, the Mays chair will allow for investment in important programs such as pilot research, faculty recruitment and retention, clinical trials, new technology and cancer prevention, Dr. Thompson added.

“It is a remarkable testament to the family’s continuing commitment to the community and to the important role the CTRC has played herein, that they are not only early supporters and the founders of the CTRC Cabinet, but now have committed to helping us reach ever-higher standards of excellence,” Dr. Thompson said.

“They planted a seed that has grown into a full tree. Now they’re planting again, and we’re soon to have an orchard.”

The CTRC opened in 1974 as a nonprofit corporation providing outpatient radiation therapy. It has evolved into one of only four academic cancer centers in the state to be named a National Cancer Institute designated cancer center. Its Institute for Drug Development conducts one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in the development of cancer drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

David E. Green, managing director of the Mays Family Foundation, said the gift is recognition of the CTRC’s elite status earned through four decades of hard work. It is also a way to support the center’s future.

“We were impressed with the strategic plan and wanted to show our support to kick off the next 40 years of their work,” he said, noting that the previous major gift of $500,000 donated in 2013 established the Mays Family Foundation Rising Star Physician-Scientist Award.

Combined with the Clear Channel Foundation, the Mays Family Foundation has contributed more than $55 million to various causes.

“Our mission is to support the communities in which we live, work and serve through causes that aid, empower, enrich and educate,” Green said. “Investing in the CTRC easily delivers on those goals.”

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