Three generations of The Mays Family. From left: Margo Mays, Peggy Mays, Kathy Mays Johnson, Ryan Mays, Paige Johnson. Courtesy photo.

The University of Texas Health Science Center’s Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC) received a surprise 40th birthday gift during its reunion dinner Wednesday night when family representatives of the Mays Family Foundation presented a $5 million check to CTRC representatives.

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio's Cancer Therapy and Research Center. Courtesy photo.
Cancer Therapy and Research Center. Courtesy photo.

The landmark gift will support key programs at the CTRC, considered a leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, including pilot research, faculty recruitment and retention, clinical trials, new technology, and cancer prevention.

About 35 years ago, Peggy Mays herself was treated for cancer at the center, then a small radiology clinic, said Mays Family Foundation Managing Director David Green.

“(The center) effectively saved her life,” he said. “The ($5 million check) was a vote of confidence in Dr. Thompson. They (The Mays) also were there at the beginning and want to help push off the next 40 years.”

Ian M. Thompson Jr. is physician-director of CTRC which – in addition to its groundbreaking research – treats hundreds of patients a year from 38 counties in South Texas.

Dr. Ian M. Thompson Jr.
Dr. Ian M. Thompson Jr.

“This endowment is an extraordinary gift that will fuel opportunities for scientific breakthroughs and invest in the best and brightest minds in cancer research,” Dr. Thompson stated in a news release. “It is a remarkable testament to the Mays’ continuing commitment to the community, and to the important role the CTRC has played herein, that they are not only early supporters and the founders of the CTRC Cabinet, but now have committed to helping us reach ever-higher standards of excellence.”

Lowry Mays, a Texas A&M University and Harvard alum, got his start in petroleum engineering and co-founded Clear Channel Communications in the 1970s. He and his wife, Peggy Mays, established the Mays Family Foundation in 1994 and, combined with the Clear Channel Foundation, the family has contributed more than $55 million to a wide variety of local and state nonprofits.

“We are delighted to honor the CTRC for its 40 years of life-changing work, and support its aspirations for the future,” Lowry Mays stated in a news release.

In a time of diminishing funding for scientific research, the gift from the Mays Family Foundation will fund investment in pilot research, faculty recruitment and retention, clinical trials, new technology and cancer prevention. The gift also will endow the Mays Family Foundation Distinguished University Presidential Chair for the Director of the CTRC, one of only four cancer centers in Texas to be named a National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center.

*Featured/top image: Three generations of The Mays Family presented a $5 million check to the Cancer Therapy and Research Center. From left: Margo Mays, Peggy Mays, Kathy Mays Johnson, Ryan Mays, Paige Johnson. Courtesy photo.

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Iris Dimmick

Iris Dimmick

Senior reporter Iris Dimmick covers City Hall, politics, development, and more. Contact her at iris@rivardreport.com