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OU's Stephenson Cancer Center announces $20 million gift from center namesakes

$20 million gift

Dr. Robert Mannel, Peggy Stephenson, Charles Stephenson and interim OU President Joseph Harroz at an event announcing the Stephenson Cancer Center’s $20 million gift.

OU Medicine's Stephenson Cancer Center announced a new $20 million gift from the center's namesakes Friday that will expand research efforts and renovate laboratory space.

The gift came from the Stephenson Family Foundation and Peggy and Charles Stephenson, according to the release, who have been longtime university supporters. The center committed to raising an additional $20 million.

The gift, according to the release, will enable the recruitment of new world-class scientists, the creation of five new endowed chairs in cancer research and renovation of laboratory space with innovative features and technology.

“Cancer is a malicious foe,” said Dr. Robert Mannel, director of Stephenson Cancer Center, in the release. “One in three women and one in two men in Oklahoma will be diagnosed with cancer during their lives. We are committed to providing tomorrow’s cancer care today through clinical trials, laboratory research and translational research. This gift from the Stephenson family will transform our research efforts.”

The gift will also make the Stephenson Cancer Center more competitive as it pursues comprehensive status, a rating from the National Cancer Institute that recognizes exceptional depth and breadth of research as well as substantial collaboration between scientists across many types of cancers, according to the release.

In 2018, the center was named Oklahoma's only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, representing the top 2 percent of cancer centers in the United States.

“When we had the opportunity to give back in a way that would fight cancer, we knew that’s what we wanted to do,” the Stephensons said in the release. “Our entire family is committed to helping the cancer center continue the pursuit of excellence. Research is crucial in creating more effective treatments for all types of cancers.

“Research excellence, combined with the care and compassion of everyone who works at the cancer center, is what makes it such a special place. We are grateful to help make a difference.”

Scott Kirker is a letters and Spanish senior and assistant news managing editor for The Daily. Previously he worked as summer editor-in-chief and as a news reporter covering research and administrative searches.

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