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Siteman Continues Legacy of Philanthropic Support for Cancer Research

Alvin J. Siteman, left, sits with Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, director of the Siteman Cancer Center, the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine. Photo by Tim Parker

March 3, 2014 – Fifteen years ago, the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis did not exist.

Today, it is among the most recognized cancer programs in the United States, holding the prestigious designation of Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute and treating more newly diagnosed cancer patients — about 8,500 a year — than all but a handful of U.S. cancer centers.

A critical factor in this rapid evolution is the longstanding support of Alvin Siteman and his wife, Ruth, BS ’75, whose $35 million gift
named the cancer center in 1999. Since then, Alvin Siteman has made multiple gifts to the cancer center. In late 2013, he announced a long-term commitment for cancer research that represents the largest philanthropic commitment ever made to benefit patients at the Siteman Cancer Center and beyond.

“We are deeply grateful to Alvin Siteman for this significant commitment,” said Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of Washington University School of Medicine. “His longstanding leadership and generosity has had — and will continue to have — a profound impact on our ability to advance the fight against cancer.”

Siteman, chairman of Site Oil Co., said he is proud to be associated with the cancer center that bears his name.

“The research being conducted at the Siteman Cancer Center is transforming the way the disease is treated,” he said. “Over the years, I have been encouraged by the progress being made by physicians and researchers at the center and inspired by the stories of patients and families whose lives they have changed.”

Timothy Eberlein, MD, the Bixby Professor and Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor at the School of Medicine and director of the Siteman Cancer Center, said, “The Siteman Center has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients and their families. They will forever be grateful to Al and Ruth.”

The Sitemans have a long history of involvement with Washington University. Alvin Siteman, who was awarded an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from Washington University in 2000, is an emeritus member of the Board of Trustees. In 1994, he received the Robert S. Brookings Award for advancing the alliance between the university and the community. His wife is a founding member of the National Council for Arts & Sciences.

Alvin Siteman’s most recent commitment is the latest in a series of important gifts he has made during a period of reduced federal spending for biomedical research. As grant funding has become more difficult to obtain, Siteman’s support will continue to play a critical role in groundbreaking research at the cancer center.