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Release: Sept. 1, 2000

$25 million gift funds Holden Cancer Center at University of Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A landmark $25 million gift from four generations of the Holden family of Williamsburg, Iowa, will provide unprecedented support for cancer research, education and treatment at the University of Iowa. In recognition of this gift, UI officials will request approval from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, at their September meeting for the naming of the Holden Cancer Center at the UI.

The family's gift, through the UI Foundation, also supports the Roland and Ruby Holden Cancer Research Laboratories in the UI's new Medical Education and Biomedical Research Facility, now under construction on the UI health sciences campus.

This announcement is the second major milestone the cancer center has achieved in 2000.
In July, the UI was recognized as a National Cancer Institute-designated center, one of only 60 in the nation to receive this prestigious recognition of excellence in research and patient care.

The Holden family gift honors the late Roland W. Holden, who died in 1995. Holden founded Holden Foundation Seeds Inc., a corn seed research and genetics company based in Williamsburg, Iowa, 30 miles west of Iowa City, in 1937. His family chose to celebrate his legacy by supporting research and treatment that may eventually cure the disease that took his life.

Contributors to the $25 million gift are Ruby Holden of Williamsburg; Ronald, Arlene, and Kathy Holden of Williamsburg; Susan and David McCurry of Coralville; Karol Holden of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Mary Ann and Curtis Blythe of Williamsburg; and the Roland and Ruby Holden Foundation.

Ruby Holden commented that her "family is extremely grateful for the care given to Roland during his battle with leukemia, especially to Dr. Raymond Hohl, who was his chief physician. Since Roland's death we have followed the work of Dr. Hohl and other researchers at the University of Iowa, and we are very impressed with the results of that work and the opportunity to bring a broader range of treatment therapies to the people of Iowa.

"It is with great pleasure," she said, "that we make this gift in an effort to sustain the ongoing work and hopefully expand it at an even faster pace. We appreciate the dedication and leadership exhibited by President Coleman, Dean Kelch, Dr. Weiner, Michael New, Carol Jefferson (Holden

Cancer Center Director of Development) and so many others in making the University of Iowa a world-class cancer research facility."

UI President Mary Sue Coleman said that with this gift, "the Holden family is making an enormous difference in the lives of all Iowans affected by cancer. The compassion that the Holdens have exhibited with this tremendous contribution will allow our researchers and physicians to make significant advances in our fight against cancer."

This gift, the largest ever received for UI health care initiatives, will support a full range of critical programs within the cancer center. For 20 years, the UI's cancer center has brought together cancer researchers, physicians and other health care professionals to provide nationally recognized patient care and collaborative research projects.

"In addition to being a leader in cancer research, we offer state-of-the art, compassionate treatment for our patients, and we train the next generation of cancer researchers and clinicians," said George Weiner, M.D., director of the Holden Cancer Center. "In order to fight cancer most effectively, we need to bring these diverse activities together in a manner that makes the whole greater than the parts. This landmark gift from the Holden family helps assure that we are able to do just that, not only now but also well into the future. It is a gift from four generations of Holdens to future generations of Iowans."

The Holdens' $25 million gift will be used to support the following cancer center initiatives:

· The building and equipping of the Roland and Ruby Holden Cancer Research Laboratories.

· Endowed funds that will finance cutting-edge research, new cancer investigators and studies that translate laboratory discoveries into innovative patient treatment options.

· Support for the UI Palliative Care Service, a team of nurses, social workers, chaplains and physicians that assists terminally ill patients and their families. This interdisciplinary program provides emotional and spiritual support and help in planning for care outside the hospital, as well as pain control and symptom management.

· Continued development of the Roland W. Holden Family Program for Experimental Cancer Therapeutics, which explores new cancer therapy approaches through laboratory and clinical trials.

Raymond Hohl, M.D., the Holden Cancer Center's associate director for clinical research, said that patient-based clinical research, which the Holdens' gift supports, is critical for a cancer center.

"The university is fortunate to have many investigators that are pursuing innovative approaches to treating cancer in the laboratory," he said. "The Program for Experimental Cancer Therapeutics allows these novel approaches to be made available for patients with cancer. This translation of laboratory investigations to patient care is one of the most exciting features of a university-based cancer center. The Holdens' gift ensures that laboratory and clinic-based cancer investigations will continue to complement each other."

The Holden family gift will benefit generations of patients and families through its support of research aimed at the causes of and cures for cancer, said Robert P. Kelch, M.D., dean of the UI College of Medicine. "The facilities and resources the Holdens have given to the cancer center will bring genesis to solutions, treatments and cures that today we can only imagine. The cancer research their gift supports will be a critical part of the global effort to understand and eradicate this array of diseases," he said.

UI Foundation President Michael New said that the Holden family's gift to the UI places them among the UI Foundation's most generous contributors. "What distinguishes the Holden family is their determination to share their resources with other families in Iowa and nationally confronting cancer. Their gift is one of the largest ever received by the UI Foundation, and its impact on our cancer center will be dramatic," New said.

The Holdens' gift is part of a planned effort by the UI and UIF to advance the UI's strategic goals for the years 2000-2005. Other key goals include substantially increasing the number of UI merit- and need-based scholarships, as well as the number of endowed faculty chairs and professorships; providing support for eight new educational and research facilities; funding outreach and service programs to benefit individuals, families, and communities throughout the state of Iowa; building the UI's endowment; and launching new initiatives in the arts, sciences, business, health care, and other fields.

The UI Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the university. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to generate funds for scholarships, professorships, facilities improvements, equipment purchases, research and other UI initiatives.