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Former director’s $50K gift boosts research at WVU Cancer Institute

WVU Today

Research efforts aimed at improving cancer care for patients in West Virginia and beyond will be boosted by a gift from the former director of the West Virginia University Cancer Institute and his wife who have made a $50,000 gift.

A space in the office of the Section Chief within the division that houses hematology and oncology will be named in recognition of the contribution by Dr. Richard and Lynda Goldberg to the General Research Fund.

“Dr. Goldberg came to the WVU Cancer Institute in 2017, bringing with him a wealth of experiences in cancer care and cancer operations,” Dr. Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, interim director of the WVU Cancer Institute, said.

“His contributions to the treatment of colon cancer are internationally recognized, and we are fortunate to have him continue to support the WVU CI. Personally, he has been a mentor and helped me grow into my current role as interim director of the WVU CI. Dr. Goldberg and Lynda have been tremendous supporters of the WVU CI, and we are humbled by their generosity.”

Richard Goldberg, a renowned gastrointestinal cancer expert, is Professor Emeritus for the School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine. He retired Jan. 1, 2020, as director of the Cancer Institute and the Laurence S. and Jean J. DeLynn Chair of Oncology.

He regularly made donations as director and encouraged a “culture of giving” among employees. He noted that Cancer Institute funding is limited and said philanthropy ultimately helps expand access to quality care.

“Money is tight to support research and other things that are important not only to the academic community but also for improving patient care and treatment,” he said. “Helping to support those things ensures those activities will continue even when funds are tight.”

Goldberg said he recruited more than 35 new cancer specialists to WVU during his tenure and acknowledged that research funding is often critical to retaining top talent.

Goldberg, a graduate of Harvard University and the State University of New York, was persuaded to pursue oncology by the late Dr. Marty York, who mentored Goldberg during his internal medicine residency at Emory University. At the time, cancer care often equated to palliative care due to limited treatment options. Goldberg saw it as a way to apply his skills to care for the people who needed it the most, and he has seen huge advances in treatment during his career thanks to groundbreaking research.

“I suspect the pace of those advances will continue to accelerate,” Goldberg said. “It’s an exciting place to invest in because we’re getting a great return for our investments.”

Goldberg came to WVU from Ohio State University, where he was recruited by then-President E. Gordon Gee. He followed Gee to Morgantown and said West Virginia reminded him of the hilly, rural part of upstate New York where he was raised.

He appreciated having the opportunity to partner with Gee and Vice President and Executive Dean for Health Sciences Dr. Clay Marsh to help the Cancer Institute grow during his three years at the helm. Even in retirement, he mentors “promising young people” at WVU amid other part-time professional work.

The Goldbergs continue to live in Morgantown, where they support a variety of causes that are important to them. They also enjoy gardening, boating and spending more time with family.

The couple’s gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit entity that administers private donations on the behalf of the university.

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