MD Anderson Board of Visitors welcomes new members, honors new Life Members
Twenty-one leaders from across the country join mission to end cancer while two senior members receive board’s highest honor
HOUSTON ― The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center welcomed 21 new members to the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors (BOV) with the start of its new fiscal year on Sept. 1, 2023. The BOV also bestowed its highest honor of Life Member to two senior board members: Tom Johnson of Atlanta, GA, and Marsha M. Shields of San Antonio, TX. These announcements come ahead of the annual BOV dinner on Nov. 8 and meeting on Nov. 9.
Effective Sept. 1, the following business and community leaders were appointed to the BOV, a nonfiduciary advisory board established in 1956. These individuals join the ranks of more than 250 leaders committed to ending cancer alongside MD Anderson:
Kevin Brady of The Woodlands, TX
Brian Carney of Midland, TX
Eleanor Claiborne of San Antonio, TX
Danny David of Houston, TX
Brendan Fikes of Albany, TX
Matt Furman of The Woodlands, TX
Landon Gibbs of Nashville, TN
Thomas Hund of Roanoke, TX
Terri Lacy of Houston, TX
Debbie Layton of Corpus Christi, TX
Clayton Maebius of Austin, TX
Christina Pappas of Houston, TX
Kathe Pate of Houston, TX
Marisa Perez of Orange, CA
Edmund Schweitzer of Pullman, WA
Toby Shor of Corpus Christi, TX
Suhail Sikhtian of Houston, TX
William Simmons of Houston, TX
Robert Smith of Houston, TX
Luis Elizondo Tomson of Houston, TX
Robert Wilkes of Mount Pleasant, SC
“As the institution embarks on another year of Making Cancer History®,
I am thrilled to welcome these phenomenal leaders,” said current BOV Chair Clarence P. Cazalot, Jr. “These incoming ambassadors represent 12 different cities, various industries and a multitude of perspectives that will strengthen our board in countless ways. Their time, talent, treasure, ties and testimonies will be essential in advancing MD Anderson’s mission during this exciting time of growth and discovery.”
Cazalot, of Houston (chair), along with BOV officers Donald L. Evans of Midland (immediate past chair); James L. Gallogly of Austin (chair-elect); Maureen Hackett of Houston (vice chair); Winell Herron of Houston (vice chair); Melvyn N. Klein of Corpus Christi (Life Member); Marsha M. Shields of San Antonio (Life Member); and Sam L. Susser of Dallas (vice chair) enter a second year of service on the BOV’s Officers Committee. Tom Johnson of Atlanta (Life Member) will continue his service as special advisor to the president.
New Life Members, Johnson and Shields, also will be honored at the annual BOV meeting. Life Members are recognized for their long-term service and embody the institution’s spirit of philanthropy, leadership and community.
“It is an honor to recognize Tom’s and Marsha’s incredible commitments to MD Anderson. They are compassionate, influential leaders whose advocacy on behalf of the institution has and will continue to positively impact the future of cancer care, research, education and prevention at MD Anderson,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “As we advance our Strategy and enter a new era of cancer care and research, I am grateful to have their leadership and support.”
Life Member: Tom Johnson Johnson began his career as an intern at his Macon, GA, hometown newspaper, The Macon Telegraph. He later served as a White House fellow, deputy White House press secretary and executive assistant to former President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1971, he became executive vice president of the Texas Broadcasting Company. In 1973, he joined the Dallas Times Herald as editor and was later promoted to publisher and chief executive officer. In 1977, he was named president of the Los Angeles Times, rising to the position of publisher in 1980. Johnson became president of Cable News Network (CNN) in 1990 and later served as chairman and chief executive officer of CNN News Group. In 1999, he received the Paul White Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association and the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism. He retired in 2001.
Johnson joined the BOV in 2007. For more than 14 years, he has served as chair of the Public Affairs Committee. In 2022, Johnson was appointed as a special advisor to the president, serving as a direct link from the greater Board of Visitors group to President Pisters and MD Anderson’s President’s Office.
Johnson and his wife, Edwina, are longtime ambassadors of
MD Anderson and have actively raised funds for key cancer research and patient programs. They have lent significant support for MD Anderson’s signature fundraising event, A Conversation With a Living Legend®, co-chairing the 2010 event in Atlanta and the 2013 and 2015 events in Washington, D.C. In addition, Johnson has interviewed multiple Living Legend honorees over the years, including former President George W. Bush (San Antonio, 2012; Dallas, 2013), Vicente Fox (San Antonio, 2010), Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson (San Antonio, 2011), Mack Brown and R.C. Slocum (San Antonio, 2014), former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (San Antonio, 2016) and former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III (San Antonio, 2018).
Life Member: Marsha M. Shields Marsha McCombs Shields is the chairwoman of McCombs Enterprises, a privately held company with interests in automobile dealerships, real estate, oil and gas, investments and ranching. She also manages McCombs Family Partners and serves as president of the McCombs Foundation, which contributed $30 million to MD Anderson's Red and Charline McCombs Institute for the Early Detection and Treatment of Cancer in 2005. A melanoma survivor, Shields co-chaired MD Anderson's 75th anniversary gala committee in 2016 along with her husband, The Honorable John H. Shields, raising more than $13.5 million for patient care and research initiatives. She is the second of three daughters of legendary philanthropists, the late Charline and B.J. “Red” McCombs.
Shields, a lifelong resident of San Antonio, TX, joined the BOV in 2008 and served as chair from 2018 to 2020. She was the BOV's second female chair and its first second-generation chair, following the tradition established by her father, Red McCombs. He served as chair from 1995 to 1997 and was honored as a Life Member in 2007 for his remarkable contributions and commitment to the institution, which spanned from the time he joined the BOV in 1986 to his death in early 2023.
Now recognized as a Life Member herself, Shields continues to advance her father’s philanthropic legacy and MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer through her many activities with the BOV. She serves as an officer of the BOV as well as a member of the BOV’s Executive Committee, Cancer Prevention Committee, Clinical Operations & Patient Affairs Committee, Joint Governmental Relations & Public Affairs Committee and Membership, Board Development & Governance Committee.
New members of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors.
From the left: William Simmons, Terri Lacy, Thomas Hund, Christina Pappas, Debbie Layton, Robert Wilkes, Clayton Maebius, Robert Smith, Suhail Sikhtian, Matt Furman, Kathe Pate, Toby Shor, Marisa Perez, Landon Gibbs, Kevin Brady, Brendan Fikes, Brian Carney, and Danny David.
Their time, talent, treasure, ties and testimonies will be essential in advancing MD Anderson’s mission during this exciting time of growth and discovery.