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(Left to right) Ian M. Thompson Jr., M.D., executive director of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center, and Bonnie and John Korbell.

$500,000 gift establishes first Bowers Chair in Texas

September 2010

by Natalie Gutierrez

Since the Cancer Therapy &Research Center (CTRC) opened its doors in San Antonio in 1974, Ruth McLean Bowman Bowers has been a loyal and generous friend. In 1989, she made the lead gift to launch a major capital campaign to expand the CTRC facilities and accepted the leadership role as the campaign’s honorary chairwoman. Her example was the catalyst for the campaign’s success, and helped build the CTRC that the San Antonio and South Texas community so richly benefits from today. One of the elite academic cancer centers in the country, the CTRC is a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center, one of only four in Texas.

Since then, Mrs. Bowers has contributed more than $2.7 million to the CTRC and the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio to support research, education and clinical care programs.

This year, Mrs. Bowers contributed a new gift of $500,000 to establish The Ruth McLean Bowman Bowers Chair in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, which played an important role in recruiting a world-class physician-scientist to San Antonio to lead the CTRC Breast Cancer program and the Comprehensive Breast Health Clinic. This is the first university chair in Texas to be named for Ruth Bowers.

  Ruth McLean Bowman Bowers
Ruth McLean Bowman Bowers

"Mother is passionate about many important issues, including women’s and children’s causes, the arts and humanities, as well as education, medicine and research," said Bonnie Korbell, daughter of Ruth McLean Bowman Bowers. "She has given generously to these efforts, and always honors her late parents, Verna and Marrs McLean, through her gifts. They were steadfast philanthropists who inspired mother to continue their legacy. This is a fitting tribute, not only because of my mother’s devotion to the CTRC, but also because she is a breast cancer survivor herself."

Ian M. Thompson Jr., M.D.,executive director of the CTRC, said he was proud to announce the recruitment this year of Peter M. Ravdin, M.D., Ph.D., to lead the Breast Health Clinic and become the inaugural holder of The Ruth McLean Bowman Bowers Chair in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. (See related article featuring Dr. Ravdin on page 10.)

"We knew we needed someone renowned in both research and clinical care to lead by example and to take our program to the next level because that is what our patients deserve. We found that expertise in Dr. Ravdin," Dr. Thompson said. "We are immensely grateful to Ruth McLean Bowman Bowers, Bonnie Korbell and all of Mrs. Bowers’ family for this gift that is allowing us to recruit the best and to create a comprehensive team of breast care specialists at the CTRC. It is an additional honor to be the first institution in Texas to hold a chair in Mrs. Bowers’ name."

John Korbell, husband of Bonnie Korbell, chaired the CTRC’s Board of Governors from 1988 to 1994.

"This is a very exciting time in the history of the CTRC and the UT Health Science Center," he said. "Recruiting outstanding leadership and expertise will allow the CTRC to continue to thrive, making it the choice destination for the best in cancer treatment and care right here in San Antonio. Ruth Bowers can be proud that she played a major role in making this possible."


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