Dr. Maurer was speaking at a press conference highlighting the name of the new, $323 million center, the largest project ever at UNMC and a project Dr. Maurer and others have called "transformational."
The cancer center will be named for Fred and Pamela Buffett in recognition of a gift from Pamela Buffett, through her foundation, the Rebecca Susan Buffett Foundation, to the University of Nebraska Foundation. Pamela's husband, Fred "Fritz" Buffett, died in 1997 after fighting kidney cancer.
Dr. Maurer was joined at the event by Ken Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center; Joe Graham, chief operating officer of The Nebraska Medical Center; Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation; and philanthropist Susie Buffett, representing Pam Buffett.
"Fritz fought a courageous cancer battle until the very end," Susie Buffett said. "It is truly exceptional for Pamela to make this gift in his honor, for the benefit of potentially thousands upon thousands of cancer patients worldwide. These patients will benefit from the research advances that will be developed here, as well as the outstanding patient care that will be delivered."
"This is a huge, huge honor for our family," she told press conference attendees. "Pam is so excited . . . and honored to be a part of this."
Graham called the center project "a new day for cancer care and research," not only for Nebraskans but throughout the country and the world.
The center will integrate state-of-the-art cancer research with state-of-the-art cancer care, Dr. Cowan said.
"It will allow us to recruit and retain the very best cancer researchers and clinicians in the country," he added.
Already, public support totaling $90 million has been pledged toward the project by the state of Nebraska, the city of Omaha and Douglas County. Private donors also have shown great support for the cancer center project, said Mike Yanney, chairman of the UNMC committee of the University of Nebraska Foundation's comprehensive fund-raising campaign, Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities.
"Pamela Buffett's gift is extraordinary and reflects the tremendous support for this project," Yanney said. "The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is another example of the tremendous public-private partnerships from which many worthwhile Nebraska projects have benefitted."