Richard and Susan Rogel committed a $150 million gift to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, according to a University press release announced Thursday. This donation is the single largest ever given to Michigan Medicine and one of the largest given to the University, making the couple the second largest donor to the University.
To recognize the Rogels’ commitment to the University, the Board of Regents unanimously approved a renaming of the center in the couple’s honor on Thursday. The gift will allow for collaborative research in cancer care and will work to draw in top researchers from around the globe to the University.
With this most recent gift, the Rogels have donated $188.5 million to over 17 areas of the University. Richard Rogel will serve as the co-chair of the Victors for Michigan National Campaign Leadership Board, the University’s $4 billion fundraising campaign which is currently chaired by Stephen M. Ross — the University’s largest donor — along with his other positions as the chair of Michigan Medicine Victors for Michigan and Victors for Michigan Global Student Support Committee. He also serves on many other advisory boards across the University. Susan Rogel serves on multiple medical and alumni committees as well.
The Rogels’ motivation to contribute to cancer research stems from the way cancer hit their family, said the release. Richard Rogel, motivated by the loss of his father from pancreatic cancer, said he hopes for new research which will develop earlier detection and better treatment for patients. Susan Rogel lost her parents to cancer, and the couple lost their daughter Ilene to a particularly vicious form of lung cancer five years ago. The couple felt frustrated by the limited treatment options available for their daughter, further inspiring them to aid the fight against cancer.
Their gift will focus on cultivating elite scientists and elevating the University’s science and medical platform in six areas: cancer research and technology, collaboration in the cancer field, cutting-edge scientists, scientific freedom, new researchers and scholarship support.
“I call Michigan ‘Collaboration U’ because so many different units work together to solve problems,” Rogel said in a statement in the release. “We have the advantage of 97 graduate departments rated in the top 10 in the country. Putting all this brain power and excitement together is going to help us find a cure for cancer. It will make people’s lives better, and that’s the most important thing.”
Members of the Comprehensive Cancer Center span 53 departments and nine colleges of the University. The center was ranked 12th in the nation by US News and World Report and is consistently in the top 10 in research funding from the National Cancer Institute, according to the press release.
“The University of Michigan takes great pride in our commitment to research and education focused on solving humanity’s greatest challenges,” University President Mark Schlissel said in the press release. “I deeply appreciate Richard and Susan Rogel’s unwavering devotion to this commitment. There has never been greater potential for fundamental discovery to lead to dramatic improvements in the treatment of cancer. Their wonderful gift will further elevate the life-changing impact of our cancer center while advancing the amazing work of our faculty and students and inspiring new hope for millions of patients around the globe.”
Jerry May, the University’s outgoing vice president for development, has worked with the Rogels in his role as the chief fundraiser for the University for more than 30 years, and said the Rogels were “two of the university's most loyal volunteers and generous donors.”
“This amazing gift speaks to their faith in U-M and the power of philanthropy to advance the common good," he said. “We could not be more grateful for their nationally recognized volunteer leadership, their friendship and the honor to grace the U-M cancer center with the Rogel name."