February 11, 2000

Research building renamed to honor Frances Preston’s efforts in cancer fight

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This is an artist’s rendering of what the newly named Frances Williams Preston Building will look like when a 54,000-square-foot expansion is completed later this year.

Research building renamed to honor Frances Preston's efforts in cancer fight

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — Medical Research Building II, the focal point of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's research activities, will be named for Frances Williams Preston, CEO and president of performance rights organization BMI, a VICC board member and president of the T.J. Martell Foundation.

The T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research has pledged a $10 million gift that, along with another $6 million anonymous donation, will support the naming of the building for Preston. The gift has been committed to further research in the VICC's ongoing Imagine a World Without Cancer Campaign. The T.J. Martell Foundation is the primary charity of the music industry nationwide, with sponsored medical laboratories in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville. Since its inception 25 years ago, the Foundation has raised more than $140 million for medical research.

The gift and the naming of the building were announced Wednesday at opening festivities of the sixth annual Country in the Rockies, a celebrity ski event that benefits the Martell Foundation and its Frances Williams Preston Laboratories at the VICC.

Dr. Harold Moses, director of the VICC and the Preston Laboratories, noted that the gift will not directly fund an expansion of the building, which is already under construction, but rather will support the research of the scientists who work in the building.

"This gift is not for bricks and mortar but will support innovative research to prevent and cure cancer," Moses said. "Frances Preston and the Martell Foundation have been key supporters of the VICC since the Cancer Center's establishment in 1993. Without Frances and without the Martell Foundation, our success to date and our dreams for the future would be impossible.

"We are pleased and honored to have Frances' name grace the building that will, after this expansion is completed, represent the marquee entrance and focal point to all of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's activities."

Preston, who became involved in the fight against cancer after the disease claimed her close friend and ski instructor several years ago, said the naming of the Preston Building – and announcing it at Country in the Rockies – was a very personal honor.

"I am so proud to have been a part of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's efforts from the very 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 in the future.

"Over the past six and half years, as my relationship with the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has grown, I have become more and more impressed with the work that its team is doing in the fight against cancer. I know there's a lot of work ahead. But I believe that, one day, cancer will no longer be a life-threatening burden, and I believe that the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center will have a played a great role in achieving that goal."

The Martell Foundation's gift builds on more than six years of critical support of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center that began with the establishment of the Preston Laboratories in 1993. Since then, Martell has provided more than $5 million in support for new research aimed at developing innovative therapies and preventions for breast, prostate, colon, ovarian and lung cancers.

This latest gift will continue that support and provide additional funding to expand research programs in some of the most promising areas of cancer science.

This gift also brings the total raised thus far in the Imagine a World Without Cancer Campaign to $86 million. The campaign, launched last spring, is designed to fund a 10-year strategic plan to aggressively target the most promising areas of cancer research with the best and brightest scientists and physicians and the latest technologies to accomplish their work. The campaign is chaired by Orrin Ingram, president and CEO of Ingram Industries Inc., son of the late Bronson Ingram, longtime Vanderbilt University supporter for whom the VICC was named last year.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center built and dedicated the Preston Building as Medical Research Building II in 1993. Its fifth and sixth floors are home to the administrative offices of the VICC as well as many research laboratories dedicated to solving the mysteries of cancer in adults and children.

An expansion of the building, set for completion in late 2000, will add about 54,000 square feet of space.

This expansion will consolidate administrative activities of the VICC in one location, provide space for additional laboratories and clinical areas and become the clearly identifiable entrance to the VICC. n

In 1995, only two years after the VICC was formed, the VICC earned designation as one of a select few National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers. Moses credits that accomplishment, in large part, to the early support by the Martell Foundation and Preston.