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IU Simon Cancer Center unveils portrait of its founding director

INDIANAPOLIS -- (September 13, 2012) -- The Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center earlier today unveiled a memorial portrait of its founding director during a ceremony. 

Family and colleagues of the late Stephen D. Williams, M.D. – who served as the cancer center’s inaugural director from 1992 until his death in 2009 -- gathered today for the unveiling.

Dr. Williams tirelessly led efforts for the establishment of a cancer center. In 1992, the National Cancer Institute awarded a planning grant to the IU School of Medicine for a cancer center, thus, the Indiana University Cancer Center was formed under the direction of Dr. Williams. 

In 1999, the IU Cancer Center earned its first NCI designation. The cancer center – now the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center – has held that designation ever since, making it Indiana’s only NCI-designated cancer center that provides patient care and one of only 67 NCI-designated cancer centers in the United States. 

As a physician-scientist, Dr. Williams left his mark on the world. He earned national recognition for his role in investigating the successful use of chemotherapy in the treatment of ovarian and testicular germ cell tumors. Because of that, thousands of men and women are alive today because of his contributions. He was consistently ranked among cancer care specialists in America’s Top Doctors for Cancer, while during his tenure, the cancer center was consistently ranked among the top clinical programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

The portrait will hang in the cancer center’s patient care building, the Indiana University Health Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, at 1030 W. Michigan St.

Indianapolis artist and Herron School of Art and Design graduate Rob Day was commissioned to paint the portrait of Dr. Williams. Day has created portraits for such leading magazines as Smithsonian, Time, Business Week, Esquire and GQ. Day was commissioned by Christianity Today International to create a portrait honoring the Rev. Billy Graham, while locally, he has worked with such clients as the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and Indiana University School of Medicine.