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Tribute to John Mendelsohn

Conquest - Spring 2012

A display highlights the contributions of John Mendelsohn, M.D.
Photo: Gini Reed

A major building on the MD Anderson campus now bears the name of John Mendelsohn, M.D., to honor his 15-year leadership of the nation’s largest cancer center.

A pioneer in the field of personalized cancer therapy, Mendelsohn served as the institution’s third full-time president from 1996 to 2011. 

During his tenure, MD Anderson marked a number of milestones, including the launch and early completion of a $1.2 billion fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in the institution’s history.

Following a six-month sabbatical at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to re-immerse in research, Mendelsohn returned to 
MD Anderson in March as co-director of the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy. In this position, he continues the clinical and translational research he started more than 30 years ago.

In addition, he joins Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy as the L.E. and Virginia Simmons senior fellow in health and technology policy.

One of the preeminent leaders in cancer medicine

“One of my greatest joys as president of this institution has been getting to know and work with the unsurpassed faculty, staff and volunteers who contribute to the MD Anderson mission. To be honored in this way is indeed humbling and gratifying,” Mendelsohn says.

The John Mendelsohn Faculty Center, 1400 Holcombe Blvd., opened in fall 2000 as the institution’s first building dedicated to serving faculty. Construction of the 13-story, 225,000-square-foot professional office building allowed the institution to relocate faculty from existing clinics and expand exam and treatment room capacity.

Today, it provides space for nearly 1,500 employees representing more than 30 departments, plus ancillary and support functions.

Mendelsohn led MD Anderson as it quadrupled in budget and tripled in space. The number of employees and patients served doubled during his presidency, and private philanthropy increased almost tenfold.

“John Mendelsohn is one of the preeminent leaders in modern cancer medicine,” says Ronald DePinho, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “It’s fitting that the John Mendelsohn Faculty Center bears his name in honor of the countless contributions he has made not only to our institution, but also to the field of oncology and, ultimately, to cancer patients and their families everywhere.”

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