Baylor College of Medicine has received a $10.2 million gift from the Lester and Sue Smith Foundation that will support treatment and research efforts at the Baylor Lung Institute.
The gift, announced April 8 at the Partnership for Baylor College of Medicine gala benefitting the Lung Institute, continues Lester and Sue Smith’s longstanding commitment to supporting programs at Baylor, and throughout the Texas Medical Center, that are focused on improving patient care and finding cures for cancer and other diseases.
The couple has provided more than $100 million in transformational gifts to Texas Medical Center institutions, including Baylor College of Medicine.
“Lester and Sue Smith have made life better for thousands in our city through their generosity, and now that extends to patients receiving care at the Lung Institute,” said Baylor President, CEO and Executive Dean Dr. Paul Klotman. “We are so grateful for their steadfast devotion to improving the quality of life for patients in Houston and beyond.”
Past, Present, Future
The Lung Institute was founded in July 2014 under the direction of Dr. David Sugarbaker, an internationally renowned leader in the care of pleural mesothelioma. The comprehensive, multi-specialty Institute offers advanced technology and individualized treatment, backed by Baylor's top-ranked genetics program, to patients from all over the world who are dealing with diseases of the lung – from asthma to lung cancer. The specialties that are working together in the Lung Institute include medical oncology, pulmonary medicine, radiation oncology and radiology. It is based at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, part of CHI St. Luke’s Health.
Sugarbaker is professor of surgery and chief of the division of general thoracic surgery at Baylor. He directs the clinical and research programs at the Institute’s Mesothelioma Treatment Center.
“This amazing and generous gift from Lester and Sue Smith will ensure that the Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine will take a national leadership position in the treatment of lung disease,” said Sugarbaker, professor of thoracic surgery at Baylor and director of the Lung Institute. “This support comes at a critical time in the Lung Institute’s growth and development. The members and staff of the Institute are most grateful to Lester and Sue for their leadership."
In recognition of this generous gift, the Institute’s outpatient clinic will be designated as The Lester and Sue Smith Lung Clinic.
In addition to the Lester and Sue Smith Endowed Chair in Surgery, Baylor also will establish the Lester and Sue Smith Endowed Chair in Lung Health, the Lester and Sue Smith Endowed Fund in Lung Health and the Lester and Sue Smith Endowed Professorship in Lung Health.
The Smiths impact on Baylor College of Medicine includes a gift of $30 million in 2007 to Baylor’s breast center, which was renamed the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, and to support research at Baylor’s Human Genome Sequencing Center. The Smiths also provided $16.4 million to support prostate cancer research and have endowed faculty chairs in the urology and surgery departments at Baylor. The urology clinic at Baylor was designated as the Lester and Sue Smith Urology Clinic in their honor.
Their generosity extends to Texas Children’s Hospital, including raising more than $25 million for pediatric genomic research at Texas Children’s Cancer Center, and to the Harris Health System, where the Smiths gift of $15 million – the largest donation ever received by the Harris Health System – helped build the Smith Clinic, a state-of-the-art patient care center.
In recognition of their many contributions to Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Medical Center, the Partnership for Baylor College of Medicine presented Lester and Sue Smith with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Magic of Motown gala. The Smiths also recently received the 2015 Maurice Hirsch Award for Philanthropy from the Association of Fundraising Professions Greater Houston Chapter in recognition of the philanthropic efforts.
Lester and Sue Smith served as honorary chairs of the Partnership for Baylor College of Medicine’s Magic of Motown gala benefitting the Lung Institute. In addition to the landmark gift from the Smith Foundation to the Institute, the Gala raised $716,758 for the treatment and research of lung diseases.