VCC and LCCRO Celebrate 30 Years
Release Date: 10-19-2008
Key leaders at the University of Vermont celebrated the 30-year partnership between the Vermont Cancer Center (VCC) and the Lake Champlain Cancer Research Organization (LCCRO) and dedicated the Juckett-Rourke Conference Room in the Health Science Research Facility on October 17.
A private philanthropic organization dedicated to funding cancer research of the highest scientific standards, the Hudson Falls, N.Y.-based LCCRO has had a close partnership with VCC since the late 1970s, donating more than $10 million in funding over the past 30 years. The organization has supported state-of-the-art laboratory instrumentation, pilot and academic awards, research symposia and lectures, and other projects that have been critical to VCC's success.
VCC leaders, including Interim Director Bernard Levin, M.D., and LCCRO board of directors held their annual end-of-year meeting, which included research presentations by Berta Geller, Ed.D., research professor of family medicine, Mark Plante, M.D., associate professor of surgery, and Mercedes Rincon, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine. At the reception and dinner held that evening, remarks were delivered by UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel, College of Medicine Dean Frederick C. Morin III, M.D., Fletcher Allen CEO Melinda L. Estes, M.D., Susan Wallace, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and LCCRO board member Jerome Yates, M.D., M.P.H.
During the celebration, Fogel remarked on the important role the LCCRO has played in promoting UVM's mission to become the nation's premier small public research university and impact on international cancer research. "Your steadfast support has made an enormous difference in the lives of an entire generation, not only in our region, but across the nation and around the world," said Fogel.
Morin, who emceed the reception, dedicated the Juckett-Rourke Conference Room, which is located on the third floor gallery level of the Health Science Research Facility. The room is named in memory of former LCCRO Board of Directors Chairman J. Walter Juckett (d.1988) and Floyd H. Rourke (d.2007), who together founded and led the LCCRO. Rourke received an honorary doctor of laws degree from UVM prior to his death in 2007.
Estes also thanked the LCCRO for its philanthropic support of the VCC, adding that Fletcher Allen could not do what it does for its patients without it. "Your support allows our physicians and providers to work together with a common purpose: to find the keys to understanding, preventing, and treating cancer," said Estes.
A longtime VCC member, Wallace said, "Looking back, I'm convinced that the VCC would not have been able to grow and thrive without the LCCRO. The LCCRO has always stepped up to fund innovative new programs, important new facilities, and exciting projects — many of which have gone on to change what we know about cancer and would never have happened without the unwavering commitment of the LCCRO."
Today, the LCCRO is led by William Bitner III, Ph.D.; Joseph Campbell; Alex Frank, M.D., radiation oncologist at Glens Falls Hospital; retired VCC Administrator Barbara Higgins; Rosemary Mackey, chief external affairs officer of the American Red Cross of Greater New York; Robert Sponzo, M.D., F.A.C.P., a Glens Falls Hospital oncologist; and Jerome Yates, M.D., M.P.H., national vice president of research for the American Cancer Society in Atlanta. Campbell is a former executive of Juckett's manufacturing business, and Bitner is the former CEO of the bank that managed LCCRO finances.