AUSTIN, Texas — Dr. Robert Askew a beloved Austin physician who passed away this year will be the namesake for the first endowed faculty chair in oncology at the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.
The Shivers Cancer Foundation has contributed $1 million to endow the Askew Chair in Oncology, just the second faculty chair that has been created at the Dell Medical School. The foundation celebrated Dr. Askew, who passed away July 4, and commemorated the gift to the medical school at its meeting this past Friday, Nov. 7.
"My father very much enjoyed the honor of being a physician," said his son, Dr. Robert Askew, Jr. "He loved Austin, and he loved The University of Texas. My father was so proud to see his university build a medical school on its campus. I cannot think of a more meaningful or loving gift to honor him, a gift that will mean so much to the university and our community."
The medical school has not yet hired a faculty member to fill the chair.
The gift will help ensure that the Dell Medical School has a top-flight physician providing cancer care to Travis County residents and training the next generation of doctors, said medical school Dean Clay Johnston. He added that the Askew Chair in Oncology will be a model for how UT Austin recruits and retains the best faculty members and shapes the Dell Medical School into a world-class institution.
"Part of our mission is to make Austin a model healthy city, so it's wonderful that a man who did so much to keep this community healthy will be the namesake for one of our first faculty chairs," Dr. Johnston said. "Cancer care is important to the people of Travis County it's a big reason why they voted in 2012 to help fund the medical school. The person who holds the Askew Chair will help validate the community's faith, both by treating patients and training doctors to treat even more patients."
The gift is among the largest in the Shivers Foundation's history. The group's mission is to help Central Texas cancer patients by supporting, among other things, additional cancer treatment capacity and access in the region, cancer research, and the education and training of new doctors.
"There aren't many ways to make a bigger difference for cancer care in Austin than to support oncology training at the Dell Medical School, and there aren't many doctors who made a bigger difference for Austin patients than Bob Askew," said Clarke Heidrick, chair of the Board of the Shivers Cancer Foundation. "He was the dean of Austin surgeons for a long time. He took a lot of time with younger physicians to help them be as good as they could be. He left a great legacy to this community. We hope this gift will extend that legacy."
The Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin is the first medical school in decades to be built on the campus of a Tier 1 research university. Established in unprecedented partnership with its community, the school is focused on creating a vital and inclusive health ecosystem and on making Austin a model healthy city. Pending preliminary accreditation, the first class of students will start in the summer of 2016.