Augusta businessman and philanthropist Peter Knox has given a $1 million gift to the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University to help support its future director.
The gift will create a discretionary fund, which the director can use to address critical areas he or she identifies. Examples could include new equipment or recruitment and/or retention of faculty. The Medical College of Georgia and the university are in the final stages of the director search, with the aim of having someone in place by this summer.
“Cancer is a great equalizer that can and has touched everyone’s lives. It is my hope that this gift will help the center’s future director continue putting the focus on finding new treatments and cures for this horrible disease right here in this community,” Knox said of the gift, which he hopes inspires more giving. “Making Augusta a destination for the best patient care and research is another wonderful way to put this city on the map. What a grand mission for a community.”
The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 1.7 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the US and a little more than 600,000 people died from the disease, last year alone.
“I can’t think of a better way to begin 2018 than with the announcement of such a crucial gift, one that will allow us to continue the tradition of the world class work of our Georgia Cancer Center,” said Augusta University President Dr. Brooks Keel. “The faculty and staff at the GCC are making a difference every day for people in Augusta, in Georgia and around the world. If we are to achieve our ultimate goal – finding new cures and treatments for this disease – we need the support of our community.”
“The timing could not be more perfect,” added MCG Dean Dr. David Hess. “This generous gift from Mr. Knox will help ensure the best possible leadership for the Georgia Cancer Center. This new leader will be charged with making Augusta and the GCC a destination cancer center, not just for this region, but for the entire Southeast.”
That happens, Hess said, by expanding clinical and basic science research and providing access to novel cancer therapies. He is working with cancer center leaders to also grow clinical operations by recruiting more frontline physicians, particularly hematologists/oncologists and radiation oncologists.
Physical growth at the Georgia Cancer Center also will continue with the summer opening of the M. Bert Storey Cancer Research Building expansion, the first phase of an integrated, single center that combines clinical cancer care and research programs. The additions include approximately 72,000 square feet of new construction and approximately 6,000 square feet of renovated space, including a five-story expansion of the research building and an elevated connector that spans historic Laney Walker Boulevard, connecting the treatment and research facilities to enhance collaboration.