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Masons give $65M for cancer research

Minnesota Masonic Charities president and CEO Eric Neetenbeek and Masonic Cancer Center director Douglas Yee, M.D., were in high spirits at the April 10 press conference announcing the gift.

The University of Minnesota has received its largest gift ever—$65 million from Minnesota Masonic Charities. The donation will be made over 15 years to support research at the University’s Cancer Center.

It will allow physicians and scientists to accelerate their research and its translation to better cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Investigators also will be able to expand their studies of cancer survivorship.

In recognition of this record-breaking gift, the Cancer Center will now be called the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. The $65 million pledge brings Masonic support of cancer research and care at the University over the past 53 years to $100 million.

“The Masonic Fraternity is proud to expand its partnership with the Masonic Cancer Center for a cure. The gift is new, but the giving is not,” says Raymond G. Christensen, M.D., who just completed his term as Grand Master of the state’s nearly 17,000 Masons.

An early highlight of the Masons’ support was a $1 million donation to build the Masonic Memorial Hospital, which admitted its first patient in 1958. The building still stands today as a cancer clinic and general research building on the University’s East Bank Campus. Funds from the Masons also helped build the Masonic Cancer Research Building, home to the newly renamed Masonic Cancer Center, one of just 41 comprehensive cancer centers recognized by the National Cancer Institute.

“The Masons’ legacy of giving to cancer research at the University of Minnesota has transformed our ability to find cures and better ways of preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer,” says University President Robert Bruininks, Ph.D.

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