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Family’s support enhances cancer research training

Nov. 14, 2013, 8:51 AM

John F. Brock III, his wife, Mary, and their family are strong supporters of Vanderbilt and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. (photo by John Russell)

John F. Brock III, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises, his wife, Mary, and their three children have established an endowment to support an oncology fellowship at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

The Brock Family Fellowship will provide financial assistance long into the future for young physicians, postdoctoral students and medical investigators who are furthering their training in cancer research.

“We are very interested in supporting cancer research and, in particular, helping the next generation of doctors and researchers finish their training. VICC is a world-class institution and we are really excited to be able to support the oncology efforts of young and deserving fellows there,” said John Brock.

The Brock family has a special interest in cancer research following the death of John Brock’s mother from lung and colon cancer. Anise McDaniel Brock did not smoke and practiced healthy lifestyle habits but still succumbed to cancer in 2006.

“We are truly proud to fund the Brock Family Fellowship, which will support Vanderbilt oncology fellows who we believe have opportunities for transformational progress in cancer research,” said Mary Brock.

“Through this important commitment the Brock family demonstrates tremendous generosity, while investing in the future in a manner that will assure talented physician scientists can continue their career development in cancer research,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

Named as the first Brock Family fellows are Brent Ferrell Jr., M.D., a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine who completed his residency at VUMC, and Douglas Johnson, M.D., a graduate of University of Alabama School of Medicine who completed his residency at Duke University Medical Center.

The Brock family has lengthy ties to Vanderbilt University, with several family members graduating from the university over the years. Daughter Rebecca Brock Dixon was accepted early admission to Vanderbilt in December 1994, and her brother, John F. Brock IV followed as well in the fall of 1996. Daughter-in-law Tracy Tendall Brock, whom John met during his freshman year, is also a Vanderbilt graduate.

“We are so grateful for this significant and heartfelt gift from John and Mary Brock and their children,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., director of VICC. “Support for oncology research training for the next generation of clinical investigators is crucial. We are increasingly reliant on private philanthropy for our research and training missions around personalized therapies for cancer patients.”

In recent years, John Brock has assumed a leadership role at Vanderbilt University, including eight years on the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Board of Visitors.

Brock was born in Moss Point, Miss., and earned his bachelors and masters degrees in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech. He started his career at Procter & Gamble and has held leadership positions at several international beverage companies. In 2000, he was named Beverage Industry’s Executive of the Year.

In 2006, he joined Coca-Cola Enterprises as CEO and in 2008 was named chairman of the company, which is headquartered in Atlanta.

As chairman and CEO, Brock has also worked closely with Coca-Cola Enterprises board member Orrin H. Ingram II, a former Vanderbilt University trustee and chairman of the VICC Board of Overseers. John and Mary Brock said their friendship with Ingram played a role in their interest in considering VICC as a recipient of their gift.

“With visits to the VICC and several discussions with Jeff Balser and Jennifer Pietenpol, we came together as a family and decided endowing the Brock Family Fellowship was just the right decision for us to make,” said John Brock.

“John and Mary Brock and their children are all exceptional individuals with a strong commitment to providing support for important endeavors, including cancer research,” said Ingram, president and CEO of Ingram Industries, Nashville. “This endowment will create a valuable legacy for future generations of Cancer Center investigators.”

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