The University of Texas System Board of Regents has unanimously appointed John Mendelsohn, M.D., as president emeritus of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Mendelsohn, who served as MD Anderson’s third full-time president from 1996 to 2011, retired on Aug. 31.
Internationally renowned for his clinical cancer research and translational cancer research, Mendelsohn has received numerous honors over the course of his career. Most recently he received the Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science, which cited his role in conceiving the idea of using antibodies to target the epidermal growth factor receptor.
During Mendelsohn’s 15-year tenure as president of MD Anderson, the institution more than doubled in size and scope, increased operating and research budgets more than fourfold and significantly expanded its collaborative network, both domestically and internationally. The South Campus Research Initiative enabled the development of the Red and Charline McCombs Institute for the Early Detection and Treatment of Cancer, and MD Anderson’s largest fundraising campaign, Making Cancer History®: The Campaign to Transform Cancer Care, generated more than $1.2 billion in philanthropy.
Mendelsohn’s leadership guided the opening of the Lowry and Peggy Mays Clinic, a 320-bed addition above Alkek Hospital, the John Mendelsohn Faculty Center, the T. Boone Pickens Academic Tower, the Proton Therapy Center, a 126-room expansion of the Rotary House International Hotel and the George and Cynthia Mitchell Basic Sciences Research Building. On the cancer prevention front, he oversaw creation of the Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment in the new Dan L. Duncan Building, strengthening efforts to stop cancer in its tracks. Educating future health care providers and the public also were among his top priorities. After stepping down as president in 2011, Mendelsohn remained on faculty as director of the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy.