A longtime advocate of volunteerism, Nancy Loeffler, of San Antonio, is a past chair of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors (BOV) and is the only woman to date to hold that position. In addition, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Cowgirl Museum; immediate past chair of the Briscoe Western Art Museum; vice president of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo; a member of The University of Texas System Chancellor’s Council; a member of the Board of Directors of The Cancer Therapy and Research Center at The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio; immediate past chair of the advisory board of The School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio; and immediate past treasurer and member of The Alamo Endowment Board. Loeffler also serves as a member of the Margaret L. Kripke Award for Women in Cancer Research selection committee. She has served as a member of the board of directors of Southwest Airlines since 2003, is a consultant to Frost Bank and is a member of the Frost Bank Advisory Board.
How would you describe Nancy Loeffler?
Calm, loves her family and friends, brought up to have a sense of responsibility to one’s community and mankind.
You’ve served in many roles, from president of the San Angelo Junior League to chair of the BOV. What motivates you?
My sister, Betsy, and I grew up in San Angelo, in West Texas, with a sense of social responsibility. My parents did a lot of community work and volunteering at school. I don’t remember it ever being any other way. I did some volunteering in high school and have continued through my adult life with a number of organizations. I’ve gained so much from each experience.
Many of the organizations to which you devote your time reflect your Texas roots: the National Cowgirl Museum, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo and the Briscoe Western Art Museum.
In my heart I’ll always be a cowgirl. It’s rewarding to be a part of these organizations and the great work they do for the community, such as the college scholarships made possible by the rodeo.
Does your family share your sense of volunteerism?
My three stepchildren have always been a part of my life, and when they were little they’d come with me to various volunteer activities. Now that they’re grown and have families of their own, they all have volunteer commitments, as do their children. My stepdaughter, Lauren Powers, is a member of MD Anderson’s Advance Team advisory board, and my daughter-in-law, Ashley Loeffler, is its immediate past chair.
How did you become interested in cancer awareness and fundraising?
Betsy’s first husband was diagnosed with cancer 30 years ago. He lived about 17 months after his diagnosis. That really marked me. We were so incensed by his loss. That’s what started it for me. When Mickey LeMaistre (Charles LeMaistre, M.D., former MD Anderson president) asked if I’d consider being on the Board of Visitors, I was proud to accept. MD Anderson has a special place in my heart.
Any pet projects?
Charline McCombs and I started trunk shows to promote the Children’s Art Project, alternating at each other’s homes for 15 years. The parties grew in popularity as the product line expanded. We enlisted friends, such as Estela Avery in San Antonio and Kit Moncrief in Fort Worth. It was fun. I’ve also enjoyed being a part of A Conversation With a Living Legend® in San Antonio. We’ve raised more than $1.7 million.
Do you have other volunteer commitments at MD Anderson?
Since 2008, I’ve been the layperson on the selection committee for the Margaret L. Kripke Legend Award for Promotion of Women in Cancer Medicine and Cancer Science. The award honors Dr. Kripke, who served as executive vice president and chief academic officer at MD Anderson and achieved many firsts for women. I’m honored to serve with such distinguished physicians.
Has there been a turning point in your life?
In early 2007, when I was chair-elect, I walked through the doors of MD Anderson as a patient. The institution had become even more important to me. You always hear you’ll be a number at MD Anderson. Yes, I felt like a number — No. 1. I’ve heard that from so many other people who feel the same way about their experience. Now, as a survivor, I’m committed on a much more personal level than when I accepted Mickey’s invitation 20 years ago. I’m living proof that Making Cancer History® is truly within our grasp.
I enjoy needlework — petit point and needlepoint, mostly. I love being with my seven grandchildren.
What’s most important in life?
I used to say what’s most important is living life well. Now that means family and friends – that’s what’s most important, above all.