Irvings Announce Gifts for Cancer Research, Precision Medicine

Herbert and Florence Irving
Herbert and Florence Irving. Photo courtesy of CUMC / Eileen Barroso.

Herbert and Florence Irving ’13HON, two of Columbia’s most generous and long-standing benefactors, recently announced several new gifts to the University, including a $50 million endowment for cancer research. That fund will benefit scientists who are affiliated with the University’s precision medicine initiative, which was launched last year to advance genomics-based research on cancer and many other diseases. Specifically, the fund will support researchers who are investigating the biological basis of cancer and developing new prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies.

“Herbert and Florence Irving are wonderful people and passionate philanthropists who care deeply about curing cancer,” says President C. Lee Bollinger. “With their support, we hope to reach a new threshold of understanding and to develop precision treatments for the many diseases we know as cancer.”

In addition, the Irving Scholars program, which has provided endowed professorships to about a dozen junior faculty at the College of Physicians and Surgeons every year since 1987, is being expanded to support two more scholars who specialize in oncology and related areas.

Finally, the Irvings are establishing seven new endowed professorships for senior CUMC faculty members who are researching the use of innovative precision-medicine techniques in the clinical setting. These endowed chairs will be named in honor of CUMC physicians Jeffrey Ascherman ’88PS, David Bickers, Ralph Blume ’64PS, Stanley Chang ’74PS, Linda Lewis, LeRoy Rabbani, and Jeffrey Stein.