03/07/2011

Cisco CEO, WVU alumnus John Chambers establishes endowed chair in cancer research

Named in honor of his parents

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The family foundation created by Cisco Systems Chief Executive Officer and West Virginia University alumnus John T. Chambers is donating $750,000 to establish an endowed chair in cancer research at WVU’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center.

The John T. and June R. Chambers Chair of Oncology Research is named after Chambers’ parents, who both graduated from WVU and had successful careers in the medical profession. John T. “Jack” Chambers is now retired and lives in Charleston. June Chambers passed away in 2005.

“My parents were doctors and they taught us from an early age that education and giving back to the community were two very important parts of life,” said John Chambers. “We are honored to support the university’s work in cancer research.  We believe continuing cancer research is not only important to the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, but to the future of science for our country.”

The endowment will allow the chair holder to conduct substantial research in biological, biotechnical and biomedical sciences, and qualifies for a match from the state Research Trust Fund as approved by the WVU Board of Governors Feb. 4.

"The Chambers family has meant so much to WVU for decades,” said Scot Remick, M.D., director of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. “This generous grant and the match from the state Research Trust Fund allow the Cancer Center to move forward with the significant oncology research under way here. It will have a major impact in our fight against cancer."

“I am very grateful to John and his family for their wonderful gift,” said WVU President Jim Clements. “It is an honor for WVU to be entrusted with this investment in our cancer research efforts. The gift carries such special meaning in honoring John’s parents and reflects his sincere commitment to helping others.  The Chambers’ family legacy of service will definitely serve as an inspiration to the faculty researchers who have the honor of being the John T. and June R. Chambers Chair.”

John T. “Jack” Chambers graduated from WVU’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1943; June Chambers received a bachelor’s degree from the WVU School of Medicine in 1947. The Chambers have long ties to WVU and provided strong financial support to the institution. Jack is a former member of the School of Medicine Visiting Committee and was inducted into the Order of Vandalia in 1977.  In 2001, both Jack and June were named Most Loyal West Virginians, an award honoring faithfulness to the ideals and goals of the state of West Virginia through business, professional and civic achievement as well as support of WVU.

Their son, John T. Chambers, earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the WVU College of Business and Economics in 1971 and a degree from the WVU College of Law in 1974. As chairman and CEO of Cisco, he helped build a company known for being the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet.   He is a member of the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame, and has earned numerous awards and international respect.

“The creation of endowments such as this one ensures that the critical research necessary to battle such dreaded diseases like cancer will go on at WVU for years to come,” said Wayne King, WVU Foundation president and CEO. “We are very grateful to John for establishing this endowment in honor of his parents.”

In 2008, the state created the Research Trust Fund with an initial appropriation of $50 million ($35 million for WVU, $15 million for Marshall) to leverage public and private investments that will transform West Virginia’s economy. WVU is able to tap into the fund to double private gifts that support expansions to research faculty and infrastructure in key areas linked to economic development, healthcare, and job growth. To date, private and state dollars combined for WVU total over $32 million.

The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the private non-profit corporation that generates, receives, and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU.

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For more information:
Bill Nevin, WVU Foundation, 304-284-4056
bill.nevin@mail.wvu.edu
bn: 03-07-11

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