The Argyros Foundation has donated $5 million toward construction of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology.
City of Hope leaders announced the generous gift during the building’s recent groundbreaking, where Ambassador George L. Argyros was an honored guest. Argyros serves as chair of the board of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, which provided $20 million in 2006 as the lead gift in a campaign to build the center.
“We are privileged to contribute to the ongoing efforts of City of Hope’s prominent researchers who are pioneering innovative technologies and basic science discoveries towards new forms of treatment,” said Argyros, who oversees the Argyros Foundation with his wife, Julia. “This center will speed the outstanding work of City of Hope scientists directly to the hands of physicians to benefit patients more quickly than ever before.”
Michael A. Friedman, M.D., president and chief executive officer of City of Hope, noted that the gift will spur more than construction of a building. “This generous gift will have an enormous impact on the lives of patients battling serious diseases,” Friedman said.
“The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology will provide a venue for specialists to share ideas and accelerate the pace of scientific discovery.”
The 108,000-square-foot facility designed by architect Ralph E. Johnson will house researchers in the Division of Cancer Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology, or CITI. These scientists study how cancerous tumors avoid the immune system and, in turn, how to harness the immune system against cancer. CITI investigators conduct what is known translational research, an approach that encourages communication between basic scientists and clinicians to speed new treatments from the lab to the clinic.
The new facility will also house the Graduate School of Biological Sciences. It is scheduled for completion in 2009.
Argyros, an accomplished Orange County businessman and former United States ambassador to Spain from 2001 to 2004, has served on many boards and received numerous awards, including the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, an honor he shares with other successful figures who rose from humble beginnings, including Ronald Reagan and Oprah Winfrey.
Born in Detroit, Argyros grew up in Pasadena, Calif. He earned a degree in business and economics in 1959 from Chapman College, where he later served as the longest-serving chairman of the board of trustees from 1976 to 2001.
He is chairman and chief executive officer of Arnel & Affiliates, a prominent West Coast diversified investment company, and serves as general partner in Westar Capital. He was formerly co-owner of AirCal (1981-1987) and owned the Seattle Mariners Baseball Club from 1981 to 1989.