Cancer Research Building Dedicated in Honor of BMI President Frances Williams Preston

Posted in News on June 21, 2001

In ceremonies on June 20, Vanderbilt University Chancellor Gordon Gee dedicated the Frances Williams Preston Building in honor of the music industry leader's support of cancer research and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.The newly expanded building provides Vanderbilt-Ingram with a marquee entrance for its research and clinical activities, consolidates its leadership, and allows expansion in the coming months of important additional research and treatment space.

After a reception and tours for the several hundred guests in attendance, the dedication program was hosted by BMI award-winning writer Vince Gill and his wife, Amy Grant. In addition to Chancellor Gee, speakers included Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, Vanderbilt's Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs; Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell; Dr. Harold Moses, Director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center; and Orrin Ingram, President & CEO of Ingram Industries and a VICC board member.

Gee noted Preston's generosity and tenacity in supporting causes in which she believes, particularly the fight against cancer. "Because of her tireless support of the T.J. Martell Foundation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and specifically the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, this grand building - full of promise and hope - is named in her honor,"Gee said.

 Preston is president of the board of the T. J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research and a member of Vanderbilt-Ingram's Board of Overseers. The Martell Foundation established the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories at Vanderbilt in 1993, the year the cancer center was formed. Since then, the foundation has provided more than $5 million for research aimed at developing new strategies for treatment and prevention of breast, prostate, colon, ovarian and lung cancers.

"I am proud to have been part of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's efforts from the beginning,"Preston said. "I am even more honored to be associated with this effort now, in my hometown, as the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the Preston Laboratories reach for even greater heights."

Orrin Ingram and Frances Preston

The naming of the building for Preston also honors the Martell Foundation for its support, including a recent commitment of $10 million - augmented by a $6 million anonymous donation - to fund additional innovative research.

Chancellor Gordon Gee, Mayor Bill Purcell, Vince Gill and Amy Grant

"This generous gift is not building a building,"said Dr. Harold L. Moses, director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. "It is fueling scientific discoveries that we hope will one day make a difference for those faced with cancer."

T. J. Martell Foundation's Crystal Caviness, Gary and Jennifer Chapman, BMI's Paul Corbin

The eight-story building, known since it opened in 1995 as Medical Research Building II, is home to many of the activities and research of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. The 54,000-square-foot expansion includes a two-story lobby and information center through which patients and their families, scientists, doctors, nurses and other staff will enter. It also includes an 8th floor conference center, outfitted with sophisticated audio-visual technology, where Vanderbilt-Ingram will hold meetings of its Board of Overseers; seminars and educational programs for scientists, clinicians and the community; and national and international scientific meetings.

Dr. Harry Jacobson, Martha Ingram, Dr. Hal Moses, Frances Preston, Orrin Ingram, Amy Grant and Vince Gill

The expansion, designed by Earl Swensson Associates, consolidates all the administrative functions in one location, clearing 7,500 square feet in the older portion of the building to be renovated as additional cancer research laboratories. The offices of the Hematology-Oncology Division have moved to the Preston Building, freeing additional space in the Henry-Joyce Cancer Clinic for five new examination rooms, one additional procedure room and two private physician-patient consultation rooms.

Frances Preston shows off her Vanderbilt ID card, a gift from Chancellor Gee

The Preston Building also houses Vanderbilt-Ingram's newly established Biostatistics and Epidemiology divisions, whose work is critical to uncovering the causes of cancers and helping identify targets for preventing disease; the data management of its large clinical trials program; and its efforts in cancer education and outreach.

Frances Preston with Chuck Cannon and BlackHawk's Dave Robbins

Deborah Allen and Stan Moress

The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is the only Comprehensive Cancer Center designated by the National Cancer Institute in Tennessee, and one of only 40 nationwide. This designation, the highest ranking awarded to cancer centers by the world's foremost authority on cancer, recognizes research excellence in cancer causes, development, treatment and prevention, as well as a demonstrated commitment to community education, information and outreach.

Vince Gill, Amy Grant and Frances Preston tour the lab with Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Director Dr. Hal Moses

The T.J Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research, founded by the music industry, is dedicated to raising funds for innovative research for treatments and cures of cancer, leukemia and AIDS. The foundation sponsors medical research laboratories in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville and has raised more than $160 million in its 26-year history.