Newswise — The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) has established the Champion for Cures Award to recognize individuals who demonstrate significant leadership in supporting efforts to cure cancer and in inspiring others to do the same. The inaugural award will be presented to Richard and Susan Rogel in recognition of their $150 million gift to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, which was renamed Rogel Cancer Center in their honor.

"Donors are an integral part of the ecosystem of cancer care," said AACI President Stanton L. Gerson, MD, director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland. "AACI wanted to honor a family like the Rogels, who’ve demonstrated their commitment to the success of the cancer center through their investment in research."

The gift is the largest ever to Michigan Medicine and one of the largest in the University of Michigan’s history. It will support cancer research by funding endowed professorships, competitive research grants, and scholarships, and by establishing a collaborative network that will bring international experts to U-M for six to 12 months to develop innovative new projects.

According to Rogel Cancer Center Director Eric Fearon, MD, PhD, philanthropy is critical to launching "high-risk, high-reward research."

"The Rogel gift is a really unique one," said Dr. Fearon. "It has six unique features that will generate a significant impact across both the cancer research spectrum  and the career trajectories of our faculty and trainees."

The Rogels’ lives have been touched extensively by cancer. Mr. Rogel, a U-M alum, lost his father to pancreatic cancer. Both of Mrs. Rogel’s parents died of cancer, and her 50-year-old daughter, Ilene, died five years ago from an aggressive form of lung cancer.

The Rogels will receive the award on Monday, October 1 at the AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting at the Loews Chicago Downtown Hotel. The meeting will bring together directors and executive-level administrators from AACI’s 98 North American cancer centers with representatives from national cancer research and advocacy organizations, industry, and government health agencies to create innovative solutions to common challenges in the field.


The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) comprises 98 premier academic and freestanding cancer research centers in the U.S. and Canada. AACI is dedicated to reducing the burden of cancer by enhancing the impact of the leading academic cancer centers.