Richard and Susan Rogel have committed $150 million to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor, the university announced Thursday. The gift, which will support cancer research, is the largest ever to Michigan Medicine and one of the largest in U-M history.
The U-M Regents will be asked to approve the name of the center as the Rogel Cancer Center. With the gift, the Rogels donated the second largest amount to U-M as individual donors. Richard Rogel is a U-M alumnus who lost his father to pancreatic cancer, and both of Susan Rogel’s parents died of cancer. Her 50-year-old daughter, Ilene, died of lung cancer five years ago.
“I call Michigan ‘Collaboration U’ because so many different units work together to solve problems,” says Richard Rogel. “We have the advantage of 97 graduate departments rated in the top 10 in the country. Putting all this brain power and excitement together is going to help us find a cure for cancer. It will make people’s lives better, and that’s the most important thing.”
The gift is broken into six components that will focus on providing grants to pioneer cancer research and technology, establishing a signature program that brings international cancer researchers to U-M for six to 12 months, retaining and recruiting cutting-edge scientists, allowing for scientific freedom, supporting the development of independent research careers, and offering scholarships to medical students and other pre-doctoral trainees.
“This generous gift brings major new opportunities for our cancer center to dramatically increase the pace of generating important advances in the cancer field,” says Eric R. Fearon, professor of oncology and director of the Rogel Cancer Center. “We will be able to develop and apply selected discoveries for new approaches to reduce the burden of cancer and improve quality of life for cancer patients and survivors, as well as assist in building the careers of the next generation of cancer researchers and clinicians.”
Cancer Center members come from 53 departments across nine schools and colleges. The center was ranked No. 12 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and is consistently in the top 10 in research funding from the National Cancer Institute. It is one of 49 centers across the country designated “comprehensive” by the National Cancer Institute.
“Susan and Rich Rogel are great visionaries about the evolution of cancer research at the University of Michigan,” says Marschall Runge, executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Michigan. “Their incredible support will enable us to facilitate robust and comprehensive programs and opportunities for our faculty, staff and fellows.”
The Rogels have given and pledged $188.5 million to at least 17 areas of the university to date.
Richard Rogel is president of the investing firm Tomay Inc. in Avon, Colo. (near Denver), and is the founder and former chairman and CEO of the Preferred Provider Organization of Michigan. Both Richard and Susan Rogel serve on several boards at U-M.