City of Hope has received a $1 million gift from the private foundation of Norman and Melinda Payson to support the institution’s Graduate School of Biological Sciences.
Norman Payson, M.D., is a member of City of Hope’s national board of directors.
Half of the gift will establish the Dr. Norman and Melinda Payson Graduate Studies Center, which will serve as a resource for future scientists in training within City of Hope’s graduate school. The remaining $500,000 will endow a graduate fellowship at the school that will support student stipends.
“The Graduate School of Biological Sciences provides an outstanding atmosphere for learning and discovery, and its faculty members are widely recognized as leaders in their fields,” said Norman Payson. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to support such a visionary academic facility and help enrich the experience of tomorrow’s brightest researchers.”
The Dr. Norman and Melinda Payson Graduate Studies Center will be a unique space where students will learn advanced research concepts, best practices and newly refined techniques within a formal teaching environment. The space will consist of two classrooms, a study hall, student lounge and other facilities. It will be housed in the Cabilly-Riggs Academic Center, future home to City of Hope’s Graduate School of Biological Sciences.
The first floor of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology, slated for completion in late 2009, will house the academic center and all operations and facilities of the graduate school.
The Dr. Norman and Melinda Payson Graduate Student Fellowship will be awarded annually to students who show the highest promise as scientific researchers.
Norman Payson was chair and chief executive officer (CEO) of Oxford Health Plans Inc., a leading provider of health benefit plans. From 1998, when he joined Oxford as CEO, until his retirement in 2002, Payson led the company through a financial revitalization and transformation into one of the most successful health plans in the nation.
Prior to joining Oxford, Payson was co-founder and CEO of Healthsource Inc. During his tenure, Healthsource became one of the nation’s largest health plan companies, operating in 15 states with more than 3 million members. Payson was the CEO of a 120-member physician group, with more than 100,000 health plan members, before helping to establish Healthsource.
Payson graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received his medical degree at Dartmouth Medical School. He practiced medicine as a board-certified family physician until 1982 and previously served in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps on a Native American reservation in Arizona.
“City of Hope’s Graduate School of Biological Sciences is a vital component of our institution and offers a unique and challenging research and learning environment for graduate education,” said John Rossi, Ph.D., Lidow Family Research Chair and dean of the Graduate School of Biological Sciences. “In our new facility on campus, and with support from people like the Paysons, we can build our program and continue to attract talented aspiring scientists from throughout the world.”