CARBONDALE, Ill., Nov. 4 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network — SimmonsCooper LLC, announced today that it has pledged $10.2 million to fund a new cancer institute at Southern Illinois University (SIU).
The institute, which will be named The SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at
SIU, will provide extraordinary new resources to enhance treatments and
implement the continuing search for a permanent cure. It is the largest single
gift in the history of SIU and will establish the university as home to one of
the leading cancer facilities in the United States.
“We believe this is the only instance where a law firm has made such a
sizable commitment in this area of vital medical research,” said John Simmons,
founder of SimmonsCooper. “SimmonsCooper has been at the forefront in fighting
for justice for cancer victims. We will continue to show that commitment with
our hearts and with our pocketbook.
“I am proud that the Institute is the only major medical center to bear
the name of a law firm, but I also hope that others will take a cue from what
we have done,” added Simmons, a member of the SIU Board of Trustees.
The SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at SIU’s School of Medicine in
Springfield employs a staff of 50 people, and that is expected to grow to 100
in the course of the next two years. The center was established 2 years ago
to address health concerns in downstate Illinois.
“This pledge to the Cancer Institute at SIU School of Medicine provides
what patients and their families want most — and what doctors want to give —
and that is hope,” said Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, dean and provost of the medical
school. “This generous philanthropic gift will support several research
projects that will ultimately get us closer to what patients, doctors, and
families all hope for — a cure for cancer.”
The Institute combines existing SIU resources with the new research and
treatment facilities enabled by the SimmonsCooper commitment.
It is particularly appropriate that SimmonsCooper is driving this
ambitious initiative. One of the nation’s leading law firms, SimmonsCooper has
spearheaded global legal efforts to provide support for people tragically
victimized by asbestos and mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer affecting the abdominal cavity, chest
cavity, and the region surrounding the heart. Due to its uncommon nature,
mesothelioma is typically difficult to diagnose and treat. It has been
connected with exposure to asbestos, a material formerly present in many work
environments. Only about 3,000 individuals are diagnosed annually.
As part of its donation, SimmonsCooper will endow a Chair at the Institute
specifically focused on all respiratory-related forms of cancer. The total
pledge amount reflects a donation by the firm as well as a significant
personal contribution by John and Jayne Simmons.
“SimmonsCooper must now take one further step by making a substantial
return to the community,” said Simmons. “We must do everything in our power to
provide a medical solution, not just legal recourse. The size of this pledge
is, to be sure, financially significant for us and that’s the way it should
SIUC Chancellor Walter V. Wendler said, “The Institute is the latest
example of the great leadership and vision that John Simmons has provided
since his appointment to our Board of Trustees.”
“The SimmonsCooper pledge of $10.2 million to SIU through the SIU
Foundation comes on the eve of our first comprehensive capital campaign,” said
Rickey N. McCurry, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and Chief
Executive Officer of the SIU Foundation. “This is a watershed moment for our
university. The mood here can only be described as one of excitement as we
announce this gift today.”
SIU is additionally well-positioned to maximize the benefits of a cancer
research institute because it is only one of 20 universities in the country
that offer a joint J.D. and M.D. degree. As such, The SimmonsCooper Cancer
Institute at SIU will provide lawyers and doctors with unique opportunities to
collaborate in the gathering of disease-related data and to share information
vital to the development of new treatment regimens.
“It is indeed a powerful benefit that this cutting-edge facility should
also help eliminate the growing rancor and animosity between doctors and
lawyers,” added Jeff Cooper, managing partner of SimmonsCooper. “The
SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at SIU will show what can happen when
professionals work together as partners in the common cause of public health.”
About SimmonsCooper LLC
SimmonsCooper LLC, based in East Alton, Illinois, with offices in Chicago,
is the country’s leading asbestos litigation firm, with strong practices also
in securities litigation, toxic torts, business-to-business, and international
product liability and torts. Visit us at http://www.simmonscooper.com.
About Southern Illinois University
Southern Illinois University opened its doors in 1869 in Carbondale and
has taken great pride in its services providing generations of graduates with
excellent educational opportunities. Today SIU is known as one of the nation’s
most comprehensive research universities offering more than 200 courses of
study at undergraduate and graduate levels. SIU enrolls more than 20,000
students, including students in the SIU School of Medicine and the SIU School
of Law. Based in Carbondale, it attracts students from more than 100 countries
across the globe and serves those in the Armed Forces with programs at
military bases across the U.S. SIU’s traditions of offering first-generation
students an affordable education and in tackling applied research continue
today. More information about the University can be found at
Web Site: http://www.simmonscooper.com http://www.siuc.edu