The generosity of four philanthropic Houston families has played a transformational role in the development of the Dan L Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine.

In 2006, the late Dan Duncan, his wife, Jan, and their family pledged $100 million to the College to establish the Dan . Duncan Cancer Center. That same day, Baylor submitted a proposal to the National Cancer Institute. By demonstrating tremendous community support, the Duncans’ gift put the program on the path to NCI designation as a cancer center in 2007, opening the doors for additional funding to combat cancer.

The College received another great boost to its cancer program—and its second $100 million gift—when Robert C. and Janice McNair founded the McNair Medical Institute in 2007 to recruit talented physician-scientists to pursue collaborative research in the areas of breast and pancreatic cancer, juvenile diabetes and the neurosciences.

That same year, Lester and Sue Smith donated $30 million to the College’s breast cancer and genomics programs. The Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center was named in their honor. Together with the couple’s support for urologic cancers, gifts to cancer programs at Baylor affiliates Harris Health System and Texas Children’s Hospital, plus matching gifts, the Smiths have made a $100 million impact.

Under the direction of Dr. Kent Osborne, director of the Duncan Cancer Center, this philanthropy has had a significant effect on faculty recruitment and retention by creating prestigious endowed positions and scholarships, including four Dan L Duncan Chairs, six Dan L Duncan Professorships, and five McNair Scholars (in cancer). These gifts also have developed the Center’s infrastructure in such important areas as laboratory-based core resources, biostatistics and informatics, and clinical trials support; funded pilot projects for innovative and novel research; and advanced scientific seminars and community outreach efforts in cancer awareness and prevention.

Just as philanthropy provided a solid foundation for the Duncan Cancer Center in its early years, today’s contributions are supporting the Center’s continued growth. Most recently, the College’s cancer programs have benefited from a $1.5 million gift from the B. Smith Trust to endow the Barry Stephen Smith Memorial Endowed Professorship and a pancreatic cancer research fund and award in Mr. Smith’s name. Harold and Pat Korell’s $2.5 million gift established the Pat Korell Endowed Professorship in Breast Imaging, a breast imaging fellowship and a triple-negative breast cancer research fund.