Mobile attorney Vince Kilborn and his wife, Marcia, have pledged $1 million to the University of South Alabama to create a new fellowship to train top doctors and researchers at the Mitchell Cancer Institute.
In memory of Kilborn’s father, who died of cancer, the Vincent F. Kilborn Jr. Cancer Research Fellowship Endowment Fund will support postdoctoral researchers and doctors who want to further their training at the Mitchell Cancer Institute.
Kilborn’s gift is part of Campaign USA, a comprehensive fund-raising campaign that seeks to raise $75 million for USA programs, faculty, students and construction over the next three years. Campaign USA was launched last month. To date, Campaign USA has raised $37.6 million.
“My father gave me a love of the law, a fine education and empathy for other people,” Kilborn said. “These gifts have provided the means for me to make this gift to the University of South Alabama.”
USA President Gordon Moulton said the gift would help the Mitchell Cancer Institute fulfill its mission. “This gift from the Kilborns will assist the University immensely in achieving its goals of preventing, treating and curing cancer, as well as educating future health care professionals,” he said. “The Mitchell Cancer Institute is one of USA’s most important endeavors in service to humanity.”
Dr. Joseph F. Busta Jr., vice president of development and alumni relations, said, “This is the first very large gift commitment of the Campaign since our public announcement on March 9.”
Campaign USA Chairman Jim Yance said, “We deeply appreciate this momentum-building gift from such a distinguished member of the Bar, who has deep roots in the community.”
Kilborn said his father was born in 1916 and raised in Mobile before attending law school at the University of Alabama. His father and mother, Mary Joe Southall Kilborn, had three children, Vince, Mary Joe and Elizabeth. Kilborn said his father served in the Alabama State Senate and as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II.
The late Kilborn joined the law firm of Outlaw, Seale & Kilborn. “Like his partner, Harry Seale, Daddy believed that everyone was entitled to good legal representation, whether they could afford it or not,” Kilborn said. “Daddy was a mentor to many young people in his office. These included in the early years such notables as Abe Mitchell, Jack Edwards, who he encouraged to run for Congress in 1964, and Justice Janie Shores, who he encouraged to study law.”
In 1971, the elder Kilborn was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died four months later at age 54.
Kilborn said the gift in memory of his father will help the Mitchell Cancer Institute. “There is a lot of excitement around the Cancer Institute. It will do a lot for the community, for Alabama and the entire Gulf Coast region.”
He said he felt good partnering with the Mitchell family for cancer care, for whom the Mitchell Cancer Institute is named, especially since Abraham Mitchell worked for his father as an attorney before Mitchell became involved in his own real estate development business. “It seems like it was meant to be,” Kilborn said. “We are all supporting the same great cause.”
Kilborn is an attorney at the firm of Kilborn Roebuck & McDonald. Kilborn received an undergraduate degree from Spring Hill College, a law degree from the University of Alabama, and a master’s in law from New York University.
Kilborn and his wife, Marcia, met when she was a nurse at the University of South Alabama’s Medical Center Burn Unit. She owns Mouvement Centre in Fairhope, a clinical Pilates studio. The couple resides in Montrose.
Since its founding in 1963, the University of South Alabama has been one of Alabama’s fastest growing universities, currently enrolling more than 13,300 students in a wide range of academic programs in Allied Health Professions, Arts and Sciences, Mitchell College of Business, Computer and Information Sciences, Continuing Education and Special Programs, Education, Engineering, Medicine, and Nursing. The University has awarded more than 56,000 degrees.
In addition to teaching and research, USA is one of the largest health care providers in the Mobile region, with its faculty physicians and two hospitals – Children’s and Women’s and USA Medical Center -- involved in more than a quarter million patient encounters annually.
Begun in 2000, USA’s Mitchell Cancer Institute was created to provide the upper Gulf Coast region with comprehensive cancer education, prevention and treatment services in an academic research setting. Primary objectives include developing innovative new treatments and becoming a National Cancer Institute designated research center.
For more information about USA’s Mitchell Cancer Institute, call (251) 460-6993 or go to www.southalabama.edu/mci
For information on Campaign USA, go to www.campaignusaleadership.com or call (251) 460-7032.