HOUSTON ― The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center extends deepest sympathy to family and friends of philanthropist and energy industry tycoon T. Boone Pickens. The institution mourns the loss of the
visionary leader who long served as a passionate ambassador of MD Anderson and its mission to end cancer.
“We are forever grateful to Boone for bringing his creative spirit and ingenuity to the global fight to end cancer,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “His efforts will have an immeasurable impact for generations to come.”
Pickens served on the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, a nonfiduciary, appointed advisory board of volunteers who advance the institution’s mission, for more than 20 years. He served as chair from 1983 to 1984 and achieved the Board’s highest honor of life membership in 2007.
A generous philanthropist, Pickens gave wholeheartedly of both his time and personal financial resources. In 1980, he established the T. Boone Pickens Distinguished Chair for Early Prevention of Cancer at MD Anderson, currently held by Ernest Hawk, M.D., vice president and division head for Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences.
“Mr. Pickens was an invaluable advocate and supporter of cancer prevention efforts on numerous fronts and to preventing the preventable,” said Hawk. “We are, and always will be, deeply indebted to Mr. Pickens for his incredible generosity.”
In 2007, the T. Boone Pickens Foundation challenged MD Anderson to grow a gift of $50 million, the largest single gift in the institution’s history at the time, to $500 million over 25 years. In recognition of this unprecedented generosity, MD Anderson formally dedicated a 21-story T. Boone Pickens Academic Tower to the philanthropist in 2008.
In the years since, Pickens maintained a keen interest in scientific innovations in the advancement of Making Cancer History, visiting the MD Anderson campus to meet Nobel laureate Jim Allison, Ph.D., chair, Immunology, to learn more about the institution’s pioneering work in immunotherapy.
“Leaders like Boone are crucial to advancing novel treatments and research for patients across the globe,” said Allison. “His philanthropic nature and visionary foresight will live on through the significant investments he has made in our fight to end cancer.”