Changing Lives Through Endowed Chairs

On September 25, Chancellor Donald M. Elliman, Jr. welcomed 80 guests to the third annual Endowed Chair Celebration at the Wellshire Event Center in Denver to celebrate benefactors who support endowed chairs and the faculty who hold those positions. “We would not be where we are today without you,” he said. “Quite simply, you are changing lives.”

The Patten-Davis Foundation Trustee David Cohen spoke on behalf of the foundation and its founder Amy Davis about their longstanding support for faculty endowed chairs. “It was an honor and privilege to know Amy, and it is impossible to overstate what a dynamic and dedicated person Amy was.” Support from Amy Davis and The Patten-Davis Foundation spans decades and has fueled research in several areas throughout the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. “Her passions were health and education,” said Cohen. In total, Amy Davis and The Patten-Davis Foundation created five endowed chairs and multiple research funds to support faculty at the CU Cancer Center and the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes.

The Patten-Davis Foundation’s five endowed chairs are:

  • Amy Davis Endowed Chair in Basic Human Immunology
  • Courtenay C. and Lucy Patten Davis Endowed Chair in Lung Cancer Research
  • Courtenay C. and Lucy Patten Davis Endowed Chair in Surgical Thoracic Oncology
  • William Robinson Endowed Chair in Cancer Research
  • Richard Abrams and Marian Rewers Endowed Chair

“I was lucky enough to work with Amy over the years, as were the other trustees, and we try to stay true to Amy’s vision and support the things she was passionate about,” said Cohen.

A faculty panel at the event featured Eduardo Davila, PhD, James DeGregori, PhD, and William Robinson, MD, PhD. Each of these faculty have benefitted from The Patten-Davis Foundation’s philanthropy.

“Endowed chairs allow us to take calculated risks and innovate,” said Dr. DeGregori. “Sometimes these ideas are the next big breakthrough, leading to additional funding and new therapies for patients. We can’t take these kinds of risks with NIH [National Institutes of Health] funding.”

The panelists are all outstanding faculty at the CU Cancer Center focused on translational research. Dr. Davila is working on solid tumor immunology to use patients’ own cells to fight cancers. He is an integral partner in the Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

Dr. DeGregori is a molecular biologist and immunologist researching the conditions that promote the evolution of cancers and developing interventions to prevent this. As a member of the CU Cancer Center leadership team, he is also building a national reputation of excellence for the center and helping build an ever-more robust research program at CU.

Dr. Robinson is a physician-researcher developing new treatments based on specific genetic make-up of various cancers. He was a longtime friend and physician of Amy Davis.

Investments in endowed chairs are powerful, as these positions serve as recruitment tools for top talent from around the country. Dr. Davila, one of the newest members of the CU School of Medicine faculty said, “Endowed chairs are a recognition from university leadership of our past, our present and future commitments to transform medicine.” In total, the CU Anschutz Medical Campus is home to 108 endowed chairs. This is a total value of more than $250 million that is used to make a difference in health care. These resources allow faculty to push boundaries and focus on transformative therapies that will impact countless lives.

Oct, 03 2019