University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
 
July 25, 2008
Contact: Jennifer Z. Ekman, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6360
            
USA Alumna Creates Endowment at Mitchell Cancer Institute
to Focus on Cancer Research
 
From left: Dr. Michael Boyd, Patricia Cobb Rodgers, Ben Samel.
From left: Dr. Michael Boyd, Patricia Cobb Rodgers, Ben Samel.

University of South Alabama alumna Patricia Cobb Rodgers has given $225,000 to the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute to begin an endowment fund for cancer research.

Rodgers, who received her undergraduate degree in math and biology in 1968 as a member of USA’s charter class, will be honored by having her name and names of her sister and late husband on the Cyberknife Vault, the Computer Services Room and the Caregiver Workroom at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute. 

Rodgers said she appreciated the education she received from the University, which launched a career at International Paper. Her sister, Susan Cobb Copeland, received a nursing degree from USA. She said she was drawn to the Mitchell Cancer Institute because both of her parents, Mr. & Mrs. William Paul Cobb, had cancer. Her mother survived cancer, but later died from a heart attack; her father died from cancer.  Rodgers is giving the gifts in memory of her parents.

Rodgers’ gift will also include a tribute to her late husband, H.H. “Bill” Rodgers, who died four years ago in an automobile accident.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” she said of the Mitchell Cancer Institute. “To give to the University made sense, and to give directly to the Mitchell Cancer Institute fit my needs perfectly. I would really encourage others to do this as part of their estate planning.”

Dr. Michael Boyd, Abraham Mitchell chair and director of the USA Mitchell Center, said of the gift, “Mrs. Rodgers astutely recognizes the critical importance of philanthropic support of cancer research, as key to improving cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Her exemplary gift will provide an essential building block for the long-term growth and successes of the research enterprise at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.”

USA Office of Development’s Ben Samel, director of leadership gifts and planning, said Rodgers’ gift is an inspiration to others who are considering their estate plans and philanthropy in retirement.

“Working with Mrs. Rodgers was a wonderful experience and her generosity is most inspiring to other alumni and friends,” Samel said. “Her current endowment to support cancer research will grow as she has indicated a long-term commitment to the Mitchell Cancer Institute. Alumni such as Mrs. Rodgers show us what giving and caring are all about, helping others have the opportunity to fight this deadly disease through research at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.”

The gifts are part of Campaign USA, the University’s first comprehensive fund-raising campaign that seeks to raise $75 million for USA programs, faculty, students and construction over three years. Campaign USA was launched in March 2006 and, to date, has raised $67.6 million. The Campaign USA Leadership team is comprised of local civic, business and national leaders, many of whom are alumni.

Campaign USA will enrich all aspects of USA, from its academic colleges and schools to its hospitals, athletic programs, libraries and campuses. The money raised will be used to fund such items as undergraduate and graduate scholarships, professorships, classroom and laboratory equipment, and health care innovations. Funds will also be used for capital enhancements to USA’s track and soccer programs and a campus bell tower.

For information on Campaign USA, visit www.campaignusaleadership.com or call (251) 460-7032.

University of South Alabama

Since its founding in 1963, the University of South Alabama has been one of Alabama’s fastest growing universities, currently enrolling more than 14,000 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, Nursing and Pharmacy. The University has awarded 62,000 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 & Women’s and USA Medical Center ­­– involved in more than a quarter million patient encounters annually.

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