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Mitchells Donate $20 Million to Construct M. D. Anderson Research Building

Mitchells Donate $20 Million to Construct M. D. Anderson Research Building
High-Tech Lab Facility to be Named for Community Leaders
M. D. Anderson News Release 09/28/01

George and Cynthia Mitchell, who are recognized among Texas' most generous philanthropists and most innovative community advocates, have donated $20 million to help construct a major new biomedical research facility at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

In recognition of their gift, the facility will be named the George and Cynthia Mitchell Basic Sciences Research Building.

A legendary wildcatter and real estate visionary, George Mitchell built Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. into one of the nation's largest independent gas and oil producers.  In the 1960s, he created and developed The Woodlands, a 27,000-acre planned community located 27 miles north of downtown Houston and recognized as one of the premier master-planned communities in the United States.  The Mitchells are credited with spawning the resurgence of tourism and preservation on Galveston Island, through their restoration of the city's historic Strand district.  They also have made major contributions to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to assist in preservation efforts around the country.

In addition, the Mitchells and Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. founded and developed The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Performing Arts in The Woodlands.

George Mitchell was instrumental in the founding of the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), a research institution consisting of eight collaborative universities.  The Mitchells have made major contributions to the National Academy of Sciences for programs involving scientific work related to the natural environment.  These programs are coordinated through HARC.

"In many ways, George and Cynthia Mitchell have built our extended community - Houston, Galveston, The Woodlands - and we are honored to have the advancement of cancer research be among the Mitchells’ most valued commitments," explains Dr. John Mendelsohn, president of M. D. Anderson.  "M. D. Anderson is dedicated to building a sophisticated research facility to support discovery.  We are looking at the whole picture - what we need now and how we will be doing research five, 10, 25 years from now.  The generosity and partnership of the Mitchells in their lead gift is crucial to making this a reality."

Within 505,000 square feet, the George and Cynthia Mitchell Basic Sciences Research Building will contain six floors of modern laboratories; a vivarium, or quarters, for small animal research; and an auditorium, conference facilities and classrooms for the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, a shared program of M. D. Anderson and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

The $174 million project's design contains interstitial space - hollow building layers sandwiched between lab floors to house plumbing, air circulation, wiring and flexible areas for any over-sized equipment needed for today's intricate research endeavors.  Because of the interstitial space, as future needs dictate, labs can be customized without interrupting neighboring projects. 

"M. D. Anderson's broad research portfolio - which spans the spectrum from basic mechanistic studies, to translational research, to the largest academic clinical trials program in the country - puts us in an optimal position to lead in the investigation of cancer, at the bench and at the bedside," Dr. Mendelsohn points out.  "There is immense value in teaming up with neighboring institutions in this most modern facility.  It will be an incubator for a ‘community of scholarship.’ "

Located at the corner of Bertner and Moursund in the heart of the Texas Medical Center, the George and Cynthia Mitchell Basic Sciences Research Building will serve as the cornerstone structure of the Texas Medical Center Research Campus, a planned multi-institutional endeavor for collaboration in many areas of science and research.  Construction already has begun, and completion is anticipated in late summer 2003.

"Cynthia and I are proud of our long-time association with M. D. Anderson, which is recognized world-wide for its excellence in patient care, research, education and cancer prevention," says George Mitchell.  "M. D. Anderson represents the highest caliber in cancer research, and Cynthia and I are pleased to make this contribution to support and enhance these significant scientific efforts."

The Mitchells’ $20 million gift complements their long history of giving to M. D. Anderson that began in 1962.  Mitchell family interests - including donations from the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation and Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. - have contributed to such initiatives as prostate and breast cancer research and the Department of Carcinogenesis at M. D. Anderson's Science Park-Research Division in Smithville, Texas. 

Family donations also have funded research in eradicating fungal infections in cancer patients and established the Alando J. Ballantyne Distinguished Chair of Head and Neck Surgery in honor of the Mitchells' late brother-in-law, a highly regarded head and neck surgeon who served on the M. D. Anderson faculty for almost 50 years.

In addition to their support of M. D. Anderson, the Mitchells have contributed to advancing the biotechnology industry, higher education, historic preservation and performing and visual arts. 

The Mitchell family's contribution is the third largest single donation in M. D. Anderson's 60-year history. 


© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center