Chapter 09: Family Connections with MD Anderson and the Texas Medical Center

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Chapter 09: Family Connections with MD Anderson and the Texas Medical Center

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The interview begins with Thomas Dunaway Anderson’s recollections of his uncle, Monroe Dunaway Anderson, the founder of the M.D. Anderson foundation and namesake of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The interview continues with a description of the establishment and purpose of the M.D. Anderson Foundation and the growth and development of several recipients of M.D. Anderson’s philanthropy, including the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas Medical Center. Thomas Anderson’s memories and interactions regarding Dr. Randolph Lee Clark, the first full-time president of what is known today as the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, are recounted as well. A discussion concerning Thomas Anderson’s family contributions associated with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas Medical Center ends the interview.

Identifier

AndersonT_01_20000504_C09

Publication Date

5-4-2000

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - MD Anderson Past; Personal Background; MD Anderson History; MD Anderson Snapshot; Building/Transforming the Institution; Institutional Processes; Portraits

Transcript

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

The members of my family who have had some connection with the Medical Center are my brother, Leland, who I think was the first president of that corporation after the war, and stayed in that capacity for a good many years. And then, as I told you, my brother, James, was the first chairman of the Board of Visitors. And then, I was the second chairman of the Board of Visitors. So, those have been the family connections with the Cancer Center and the Medical Center. Otherwise, the recollections relate primarily to family matters and in the years really before any of this got started.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

I wonder if, for the last part of our interview here, we might talk about Leland and your brother, James, a bit and their contributions. I would dislike leaving them out of it, if that is OK with you.

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

Yes.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

I think the people commissioning me for this interview would appreciate it, if that is all right. Let me put on a new tape, so I won't have to interrupt you again.

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

Leland was also with Anderson Clayton and Company all of his business days, and after James, was the number two brother. Well, James was active in the Cancer Center, so the trustees of the Anderson Foundation asked him to take over the presidency of a medical center. And there was a big ceremony downtown one time, and you will see that, I think, in the Macon book, when the members of the Foundation, Anderson Foundation, and Leland, as President of the Medical Center, had a deed to that 134 acres. That was a matter that the prominent people in town took notice of way back there in the 1950s. And, as I say, Leland continued in that job and hired the directors and did people like that, a succession of directors . . . I guess Fred Elliot was the first. I've kind of forgotten the names of the ones who came afterwards. So, in due course, he retired from that and they established then a business of having terms of office. But I am sure his first was a good deal longer than the present terms are because it was open-ended when he was appointed.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

How long was he on the board?

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

I can't tell you. The record speaks for itself. Don Macon's book may have something about that in the appendix. That includes not only biographical material, but also a chronology of the Texas Medical Center.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

Yes, I went through it, but I don't recall . . .

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

I don't recall either. I would have to refer you to the book. I think I am pumped pretty dry now unless you've got some more questions.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

Is there anything more on James?

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

No.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

That covers it, pretty much?

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

As I say, I know he was a help to Lee Clark in getting the pension program started, and he was helpful in getting the Board of Visitors started. It was small, too, in the beginning, and has grown to be an enormous organization now. So, I think he founded well. It sounds like a lot of nepotism was at work here. My own connection . . . part of my interest in being on the Board of Visitors for so long was I liked to watch Lee Clark go! I mean, he was terrific. He was just full of charge in building that place -- getting it started, getting it built, and then running it, raising money for more buildings. He was a pleasure to watch, a pleasure to know. That book is about him, too, one of which he wrote, I think. There is a book about the first 20 years, and you are writing about the next 20 years.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

Right.

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

You are picking up where the first 20 year book left off?

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

Yes. Now, I want to ask you, before I leave, these documents that you have given me. Do you want them to go to the . . .

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

I don't need to have them back. I will let you decide whether they go into archives or whether they are only background material for you. Some of them are clippings that perhaps should be in the archives. I think the Jim Greenwood talk could very well go into the archives. As I say, it is accurate. I read it just the other day. Reread it. I have read it many times.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

I will want to look at them for future interviews, and then I will let the M. D. Anderson History Committee decide what they would like to do with them. I am sure they will keep them.

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

That is all right. I made Xerox copies where I needed to. So, there isn't any material in there that I don't have a duplicate of.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

All right, sir. And the last point I wanted to raise: You mentioned there were photographs that could be reproduced but you would prefer to have technicians come here and do it. Is that correct?

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

That is correct.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

O.K. I will pass that information on to them and I am sure they will act upon it. Before we close, I just wanted to remind you . . . maybe we haven't attended the same meetings, but we both belong to the Harris County Historical Commission. Thomas Dunaway Anderson Oh, yes! I enjoy that. I like Al Davis very much. Louis Marchiafava, PhD Yes. And we have something else in common: You graduated from Rice and so have I.

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

I didn't graduate from Rice. I went there one year and then went back to Washington and Lee where I had started out. I had my freshman year at Washington Lee, and then the sophomore year at Rice. And going into Rice as a sophomore was pretty hard. I didn't know anybody in town. I didn't know anybody at Rice. My mother finally took pity on me and let me go back up to Washington Lee and go into law school up there.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

Well, sir, I want to thank you for your time, and I hope I haven't pushed you too hard.

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

Not at all.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

On behalf of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas Medical Center, I want to thank you for consenting to this interview.

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

I am happy to do so.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

Thank you, sir.

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Chapter 09: Family Connections with MD Anderson and the Texas Medical Center

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