A Conversation With a Living Legend honoring Admiral William H. McRaven raises $1 million

Virtual interview led by Bob Schieffer benefits MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program

The North Texas A Conversation With a Living Legend® raised $1 million this week in a virtual version of the signature fundraising event benefiting The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The 31st annual event honored Admiral William H. McRaven, U.S. Navy, Retired, in an interview Nov. 16 with CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Proceeds will benefit MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program®, a collaborative effort to accelerate the development of scientific discoveries into clinical advances that save patients’ lives.

Event chair Cathy Allday led more than 60 Dallas- and Fort Worth-area community and business leaders, including chair-elect Pat Morgan McEvoy, in coordinating the successful event. Meredith Land, anchor of KXAS-NBC5, served as emcee, and President and Mrs. George W. Bush lent their names to the event as honorary chairs.

Highlights included recognition of post 9/11 veterans who have participated in the Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative programs. Speakers included Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson, and Chad Braun, who reflected on his experiences at MD Anderson as a melanoma survivor.

Lyda Hill Philanthropies returned this year as presenting sponsor. Red Carpet Underwriters were Lana and Barry Andrews and Natalie and Mike McGuire, Andrews Distributing; Peggy and Carl Sewell, Sewell Automotive; Sherry and J. Robert Brown; and The Rosewood Corporation.

Since its inception in 1990, the North Texas A Conversation With a Living Legend® has raised more than $20 million for cancer research and patient care programs at MD Anderson. In recent years, the event has allocated nearly $5.5 million to the Moon Shots Program.

During his exemplary military career spanning Desert Storm and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Admiral McRaven led special operations forces at every level, eventually taking charge of the U.S. Special Operations Command. He commanded the troops that captured Saddam Hussein and rescued Captain Richard Phillips and is credited with planning and leading the Osama bin Laden mission in 2011.

As UT System chancellor from 2015 to 2018, McRaven led one of the nation’s largest and most respected systems of higher education, overseeing 14 institutions that educated 220,000 students and employed 20,000 faculty and more than 80,000 health care professionals, researchers and staff.

This year, Bob Schieffer marks just past a half century with CBS News. Schieffer began his career as the night police reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In 1965, the newspaper sent him to Vietnam, and when he returned he joined the local NBC television affiliate as news anchor. In 1969, he moved to CBS News, where he covered the major Washington, D.C., beats and anchored “Face the Nation” for 24 years. He retired in 2015, but CBS rehired him in 2016 to offer presidential election campaign analysis. A member of the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Schieffer has won numerous awards, including eight Emmys.

The Living Legend interview concept has inspired similar events in Las Vegas, Nevada; Atlanta, Georgia; Washington, D.C.; Houston; San Antonio; and Corpus Christi, raising more than $46 million for cancer research and patient programs at MD Anderson.