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Fox Chase Cancer Center Announces G. Willing "Wing" Pepper Endowed Chair

PHILADELPHIA (January 29, 1999) -- As part of the $38 million campaign to launch Fox Chase Cancer Center's new Research Institute for Cancer Prevention, Center staff and faculty have honored G. Willing "Wing" Pepper of Media, Pa., by endowing a faculty chair in cancer research in his name. Pepper is vice chairman emeritus of the Center's board of directors and founding chairman of the Fox Chase Board of Advocates.

Pepper, 91, was instrumental in the growth of Fox Chase as one of the first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974. He joined the Fox Chase board in 1973, shortly after retiring as president and chief operating officer of Scott Paper Company.

A reception in his honor took place at the Center in January. Paying tribute to him were current board vice chairman Edward J. Roach of Drexel Hill, Pa., board chairman emeritus G. Morris Dorrance Jr. of Villanova, Pa., executive vice president Francis J. McKay of Fort Washington, Pa., and Center president Dr. Robert C. Young of Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill section. McKay also read remarks from board chairman Philip E. Lippincott of Aspen, Colo. (whose plane was grounded en route to the event).

According to Young, Pepper's business acumen and negotiating skills helped bring the first hepatitis B vaccine, invented at Fox Chase, into commercial development by Merck Sharp and Dohme. The vaccine was devised by Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg, who won the Nobel Prize for discovering the hepatitis B virus, and Dr. Irving Millman.

This is just one example of the difference Pepper's involvement has made to the Center, starting with his negotiations for federal grant support for the fledgling cancer center in the 1970s. Young and other speakers noted his great enthusiasm for the work of Fox Chase.

Calling Pepper "our head cheerleader, a powerful advocate and a great personal motivator and friend," Young said, "He has a unique capacity for projecting warmth and compassion. He has nurtured and inspired numerous scientists, physicians and administrators. An untold number of patients and staff at Fox Chase have been touched by his genuine interest."

To symbolize the G. Willing "Wing" Pepper Chair in Cancer Research, Young presented Pepper with a pair of engraved pewter and bronze bookends in the form of chairs. Young said that the chair in Pepper's honor "will support an outstanding, internationally recognized scientist whose research efforts will complement those of other Fox Chase investigators working on the detection, treatment and prevention of cancer."

"Wing has consistently supported great science at Fox Chase through his leadership and vision," Young added. "The Wing Pepper Chair in Cancer Research will be a lasting legacy toward the support of great science forever."

More than 80 percent of the $1.5 million for the endowed chair has been raised, including more than a quarter of a million dollars from Fox Chase employees. The special tea in Pepper's honor was part of the "family campaign" by the staff, whose goal is to obtain commitments for $1 million in pledges for the Research Institute for Cancer Prevention by September 1999.

The $38 million initiative in cancer prevention research will include state-of-the-art laboratories as well as new research programs that will be housed in the five-level, 120,000-square-foot Prevention Pavilion on Fox Chase's main campus. The new prevention programs and laboratories will add more than 100 members to Fox Chase's scientific and medical staff as well as additional support staff.

Six of the new research positions will be endowed senior faculty chairs and three will be endowed postdoctoral fellowships. Among the six endowed chairs, the new Wing Pepper Chair joins the William Wikoff Smith Chair in Cancer Research, endowed by the W. W. Smith Charitable Trust of Newtown Square, Pa., and the Carol and Kenneth Weg Chair in Human Genetics, endowed by board member Kenneth Weg and his wife, Carol, of Princeton, N.J.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 35 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. The Center's activities include basic and clinical research, prevention, detection and treatment of cancer and community outreach programs.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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