The University of Nebraska Medical Center and The Nebraska Medical Center announced today that their cancer center project in midtown Omaha has a name: the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.
Fred and Pamela Buffett
The cancer center will be named for Fred and Pamela Buffett in recognition of a gift from Pamela Buffett, through her foundation, the Rebecca Susan Buffett Foundation, to the University of Nebraska Foundation. Pamela’s husband, Fred “Fritz” Buffett, died in 1997 after fighting kidney cancer. Fred Buffett and Warren Buffett were first cousins.
“We could not be more grateful to Pamela Buffett for her monumental gift,” UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., said. “This is truly a transformational project that will enhance our international reputation and elevate our cancer program to a whole new level.”
“The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center places Nebraska firmly at the leading edge of cancer care, research and education,” University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken said. “This will allow us to attract the best and brightest faculty and students, and build on our significant strengths in cancer research to serve the people of Nebraska and the nation.”
“Few times, if ever, do we have the opportunity to embark on a project as ambitious as this,” said Glenn A. Fosdick, FACHE, president and CEO of The Nebraska Medical Center, UNMC’s hospital partner. “This center is critical to our community and region, and Pamela Buffett’s gift will help to provide the very best care to untold numbers of cancer patients from Nebraska and around the world.”
The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center includes three areas dedicated to cancer: a 98-laboratory research tower, a multidisciplinary outpatient center and a hospital with up to 108 beds. In all, the cancer center’s construction will cost $323 million, the largest project ever at the University of Nebraska. At the request of the donor, the gift amount will not be disclosed. The NU Board of Regents will formally vote on the naming at its June meeting.
“Fritz fought a courageous cancer battle until the very end,” said Omaha philanthropist Susie Buffett. “It is truly exceptional for Pamela to make this gift in his honor, for the benefit of potentially thousands upon thousands of cancer patients worldwide. These patients will benefit from the research advances that will be developed here, as well as the outstanding patient care that will be delivered.”
Ken Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Eppley Cancer Center, said the proximity of researchers and clinicians will hasten the transfer of scientific discoveries from the lab into new treatments benefitting patients.
“The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center will allow the brightest minds in cancer research and care to collaborate on finding tomorrow’s cures, specifying those treatments to each patient based on their unique condition,” Dr. Cowan said. “In this facility, medical scientists will discover the next generation of cancer therapies targeted toward molecular changes in tumors, resulting in a treatment regimen individualized for each patient.”
Already, public support totaling $90 million has been pledged toward the project, including a $50 million investment from the state of Nebraska and additional contributions by the city of Omaha and Douglas County. Private donors also have shown great support for the cancer center project, said Mike Yanney, chairman of the UNMC committee of the University of Nebraska Foundation’s comprehensive fund-raising campaign, Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities.
“Pamela Buffett’s gift is extraordinary and reflects the tremendous support for this project,” Yanney said. “The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is another example of the tremendous public-private partnerships from which many worthwhile Nebraska projects have benefitted.”
Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the NU Foundation, said that the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center not only would house the best cancer physicians and researchers in the state, “it also will help us attract even more of them to Nebraska to find a cure.
“I am grateful to Pamela Buffett for her gift and commitment to what will hopefully one day be an end to cancer,” Hastings said.
The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is the largest facility of a $370 million project that also includes plans for updated ambulatory (outpatient) services at the Med Center. In all, the project will provide 4,657 new jobs to the metro area, infusing $537 million annually into the economy.
Currently, planners are analyzing how the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center’s floors and spaces will match up with space in adjacent buildings, including the Durham Outpatient Center and Durham Research Towers. The facility will be constructed at Dewey Avenue and Durham Research Plaza (45th Street), where Swanson Hall currently is located. Demolition of Swanson Hall will begin later this spring, with construction of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center to begin in the summer.