Newswise — President Bill Clinton and General Colin Powell were honored at A Conversation With a Living Legend® in Washington, D.C., April 21 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The bipartisan event raised $5.2 million for The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Proceeds will benefit the institution’s Moon Shots Program, an unprecedented effort to significantly reduce deaths from cancer, including a pilot initiative to advance innovative pancreatic cancer research.
“CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell emceed the program, which began with the national anthem sung by MSG Caleb Green (Ret.). In welcoming remarks, The University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven, recently retired four-star Navy admiral and former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, described MD Anderson as the “crown jewel” of the UT System and noted President Clinton and General Powell’s vast and diverse accomplishments.
“If a general can become a statesman, if a president can become a philanthropist, perhaps a retired admiral can become an educator,” said McRaven.
Ron DePinho, M.D., president of MD Anderson, thanked the more than 650 guests from across the nation for helping to provide hope for cancer patients around the world.
“Your generosity drives our world-class research momentum and, ultimately, will help improve the lives of patients and their families for generations to come,” he said. “Our success will be our generation’s greatest legacy – our greatest gift.”
Bob Schieffer, CBS chief news correspondent and “Face the Nation” moderator, led a 55-minute onstage conversation with President Clinton and General Powell. The conversation touched on various subjects including the organization America’s Promise Alliance, Haiti, poverty and the particular challenges facing the nation’s next president. The Whiffenpoofs of Yale, the world’s oldest collegiate a cappella group, offered a rousing conclusion.
Crucial to the event’s success in guiding the record-breaking fundraising effort were event chairs Edwina and Tom Johnson of Georgia, Beth and Wayne Gibbens of Virginia, Diane and Paul Begala of Virginia, Marlene and Fred Malek of Virginia, and Donna and Mack McLarty of Washington, D.C.
General chairs included Lana and Barry Andrews, Elizabeth and Mark Epley, Susan and Don Evans, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Annette and Mel Klein, Tricia Koch, Doro and Bobby Koch, Sandy and Jim Langdon, Sherry Lansing, Laurie and Pierre Lapeyre Jr., Nancy Loeffler, Yael and Jed Manocherian, Charline and Red McCombs, Kit and Charlie Moncrief, Rob Mosbacher, Miriam and Jim Mulva, Tani and Tony Sanchez Jr., and Lois and Eric Zorn.
President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush, President and Mrs. George W. Bush, Mrs. Ronald Reagan and the Honorable and Mrs. James A. Baker, III served as honorary chairs.
DePinho recognized current MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors (BOV) chair Mel Klein for his leadership. He took a moment to offer special recognition to President George H.W. Bush, who served as BOV chair more than a decade ago.
“I’d like to express our gratitude for his leadership, his continued service and his unwavering dedication to Making Cancer History®,” DePinho said.
He also cited progress in the fight against cancer advanced by the Moon Shots Program, thanks to “early transformative philanthropy.”
“We’ve made lifesaving advances, but our work is far from done,” he said. “History will write that our generation addressed a humanitarian crisis with courage and compassion, with resolve and research, with ingenuity and intensity. The challenge is ours to conquer. The responsibility is ours to fulfill.”
A seated dinner in the Kennedy Center’s Hall of States and Hall of Nations followed the program.
See a video shown at A Conversation With a Living Legend® in Washington, D.C.