Setting the Stage. In 1988, a $41 million gift from Dallas businessman Harold Simmons and his wife, Annette, provided seminal funds to transform cancer research and care at UT Southwestern. In 1991, the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center was established. Pioneering work by Drs. John Minna and Adi Gazdar opened the door in 1996 for Simmons Cancer Center to receive a flagship Specialized Program of Research Excellence grant—a highly competitive award in lung cancer that continues today.
In 2000, the 27,000-plus-square-foot Simmons Cancer Center Clinic was established in the Seay Biomedical Building, providing a central location for oncology services and related care. Dr. James K.V. Willson was named Director in 2004. He launched a five-year plan to develop a “matrix” cancer center, building bridges among disciplines to ensure translation of cancer discoveries to patient care.