Representatives from the Point Clear Polo Classic presented a $135,000 donation to the University of South Alabama in support of the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute on Friday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. in the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, 1660 Springhill Ave.
This is the charitable group’s latest installment in what has been a long history of giving to the University. Point Clear Polo has sponsored USA cancer research for many years, generating approximately $2.7 million in support of an endowed chair in cancer research and other projects. That includes $500,000 in unrestricted funds toward the Mitchell Cancer Institute endowment and the naming of the USAMCI Auditorium, and $200,000 in contributions to Project Hope, a program benefiting pediatric cancer patients at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital.
USA President Gordon Moulton said support from groups such as Point Clear Polo is critical to the success of the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.
“The University has been a recipient of Point Clear Polo’s generosity for many years,” Moulton said. “Continued support from organizations such as this one will be very important for the long-term development of this type of cancer center. The money is very important, but the belief in this project by community leaders from organizations like Point Clear Polo is even more important.”
The donation was made possible by proceeds from the 2008 Point Clear Polo Classic. The Mitchell Cancer Institute was the primary beneficiary of the charity event, which was held Oct. 19.
Major sponsors of this year’s event were Southern Living Plant Collection; Pilot Catastrophe; Ferguson Enterprises; The Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club and Spa; Curtis and Dawn Pilot; SA Group LLC; and White-Spunner Construction. Other sponsors were Noojin & Noojin; The Wash House Restaurant; Malouf Furniture; Absolute Home Theatre; Clear MedSpa; Magnolia Trace; Fairhope Center for the Arts; The Equitable Group; Boan Contracting Company; Eastern Shore Plastic Surgery; Chrome Horse Pub; Strategic Allied Technologies; Cisco; and Optera Creative.
Anne Nix and Barbara Mudd served as co-chairs for this event. Nix, a breast cancer survivor, was treated by USA doctors in the early 1990s and credits them with the medical advances and attention that helped her conquer the disease. She remembers taking her chemotherapy treatments in cramped quarters in a building on campus, very different from the spacious rooms in the new USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.
“A dream has come true to see the beautiful building and all that money that is raised by us and other groups for the convenience of people in Mobile and Baldwin counties,” Nix said. “It’s just a wonderful place.”
Despite the struggling economy, she credits Mudd and the rest of her volunteer team with raising money for the USAMCI at the Polo events.
“We were very blessed with the turnout and support,” Nix said. “It’s a team effort to make it work.”
Dr. Michael Boyd, Abraham Mitchell chair and director of the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, said, “The gift from the Polo event each year for the past several years has been used to support the advanced training and professional development of outstanding young postdoctoral fellows at the USAMCI. These young scientists are an essential part of our research workforce.”
Boyd said that one postdoctoral fellow Dr. Yaguong Xi had recently been promoted to a faculty position as an USAMCI assistant professor and is already receiving national research recognition and awards.
USA Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Dr. Joseph F. Busta, Jr., said, “The Point Clear Polo Classic continues to be the single most important fund- and friend-raising event for the Mitchell Cancer Institute and we are most grateful to the efforts of the entire volunteer team.”
Cancer death rates along the Gulf Coast are some of the highest in the nation. Mobile loses 1,200 people per year to cancer, while annual Baldwin County cancer deaths are approximately 400.
The USA Mitchell Cancer Institute was created to help prevent, treat and cure cancer in the upper Gulf Coast region. It will increase care and treatment options for cancer patients, providing local access to research-based cancer care. For an appointment, call (251) 665-8000, or visit www.usamci.com for more information on the institute.
The Point Clear Polo Classic gift is part of Campaign USA, the University’s first comprehensive fund-raising campaign for USA programs, faculty, students and construction. Campaign USA was launched in March 2006 and, to date, has raised $76.3 million. Led by Jim Yance, 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 athletic facilities and a campus bell tower.
For information on Campaign USA, visit www.campaignusaleadership.com or call (251) 460-7032.
The 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 62,300 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 – USA Children’s & Women’s and USA Medical Center – involved in more than a quarter million patient encounters annually. USA is also home to the Mitchell Cancer Institute, the first academic cancer research institute in the upper Gulf Coast region.