A Night of Incurable Optimism at the Perlmutter Cancer Center Gala
More than 400 patients, physicians, researchers, and friends from the NYU Langone community gathered at the 2016 Perlmutter Cancer Center Gala to join together in declaring that “We can cure cancer. In our lifetime.” Held at The Plaza Hotel on October 19, the gala raised more than $1.5 million for patient care, research, and training, and honored Beatrice W. Welters and Anthony Welters for their generous gift to create the Beatrice W. Welters Breast Health Outreach and Navigation Program, as well as Mark B. Pochapin, MD, the Sholtz/Leeds Professor of Gastroenterology. Speakers included Benjamin G. Neel, MD, PhD, the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center; Robert I. Grossman, MD, the Saul J. Farber Dean and CEO of NYU Langone; Lori Fink, chair of the Perlmutter Cancer Center Advisory Board and an NYU Langone trustee; Bonnie Krentzman, a supporter of Dr. Pochapin’s; and Kyle MacLachlan, a Golden Globe-winning actor and longtime cancer research activist. Dean Grossman announced a $1M gift from Laurie and Isaac Perlmutter—the cancer center’s very generous namesakes—to support the Welters Breast Health Program.
At the Perlmutter Cancer Center, our faculty and staff are transforming cancer treatment through emerging breakthroughs in immunotherapy and genomic sequencing, and through initiatives like the Welters Program, aimed at expanding access for vulnerable populations. Philanthropic leaders are critical to making the most of this historic opportunity, Dr. Neel said in his remarks. “We are building one of the best cancer centers around. This requires a great deal of resources—and with diminished government funding, our supporters are more important than ever.” “Bea and Tony" said Dr. Neel, "you are an inspiration. We are delighted to recognize you for the difference your generosity and compassion will make in the lives of countless patients.”
Noting that NYU Langone as a whole is experiencing one of the most dramatic periods of growth in its history, Dean Grossman praised Dr. Neel for energizing the Perlmutter Cancer Center since taking the helm as director in 2015. “Dr. Neel continues to bring on board preeminent leaders in the field, to dramatically expand clinical trial opportunities for our patients, and to target detection and treatment efforts that will lead to a cure,” said Dean Grossman. “I have no doubt that—with the help and hard work of everyone in this room—Ben will make us one of the top five cancer centers in the nation very soon.”
Bonnie Krentzman described how, when her mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Dr. Pochapin’s compassionate and skilled care helped her entire family cope during difficult times. “Under the care of Mark and his team, my mother had a successful operation and was treated with chemotherapy and radiation. Mark kept her alive—and not just alive, but really alive—for nine more years,” said Mrs. Krentzman.
Yahoo Global News anchor Katie Couric also paid tribute to Dr. Pochapin through a short video in which she described how his compassion and warmth made a difference during her husband’s battle with colon cancer.
Dr. Pochapin said that he draws upon his personal experience with cancer—he lost his mother and a cousin to the disease—to help him connect to patients. “As ugly as cancer is, it also brings out the beauty of human compassion and the love of caregivers, friends, and family,” said Dr. Pochapin. “And ultimately, whatever the outcome, it is that love, kindness, and compassion that prevail.” Read Dr. Pochapin’s full speech here.
Mr. MacLachlan, who served as emcee for the evening, applauded attendees for their commitment. “The Perlmutter Cancer Center has boldly stated that ‘we can cure cancer in our lifetime,” said Mr. MacLachlan. “You are here because you believe such a lofty goal is attainable, and you recognize that this institution has what it takes to make it happen.”
Gala Chairs: Lori Fink and the Perlmutter Cancer Center Advisory Board
Select Speakers: Lori Fink; Robert I. Grossman, MD; and Benjamin G. Neel, MD
See 15 Photos
See 15 Photos
Perlmutter Cancer Center Gala 2016
Beatrice W. Welters
Beatrice Welters serves as the founder and co-chair of the AnBryce Foundation, established in 1995, in partnership with her husband Anthony Welters, Esq. (LAW ’77), as a way to provide opportunities to underserved youth. In 1998, the foundation’s mission was further advanced through the creation of the AnBryce Scholars Program at NYU Law School. In 2004, the Welters founded a second organization to serve underserved youth, the Vincent Wilkinson Foundation. Mrs. Welters serves on the board of the Brookings Institution and is a member of the board of visitors of Colin Powell’s School for Civic and Global Leadership and City College. She and her husband are recipients of the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service in recognition of their longstanding commitment to philanthropy. Additionally, Mrs. Welters serves on the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center Board at NYU Langone Medical Center. In 2015, the Vincent Wilkinson Foundation’s transformative gift to NYU Langone established a model program to improve outcomes for medically underserved women by reducing barriers to quality care and advancing pioneering treatments for breast cancer.
Mrs. Welters is a former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She received her bachelor of arts from Manhattanville College and her master of arts from John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City of New York. She resides in Virginia with her husband. They have two adult sons.
Anthony Welters is Executive Chairman of the BlackIvy Group, LLC. He is recently retired as Senior Adviser to the Office of the CEO of UnitedHealth Group (UHG), where he served in leadership positions for two decades. Mr. Welters joined UHG upon its acquisition of AmeriChoice, a healthcare company he founded in 1989.
Mr. Welters invested early in oil leases in the Bakken Formation, and established his own shale gas exploration and production company. He recently turned his focus to building infrastructure businesses in sub-Saharan Africa, where his efforts create new market opportunities and employment for individuals.
Mr. Welters is a member of the boards of Loews Corporation, West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc., C.R. Bard, Inc., and the Carlyle Group, among others. He is Chairman of the Board of New York University School of Law, Vice Chairman of the Board of New York University, and a Trustee of NYU Langone Medical Center. He is a founding member of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, a recipient of a Horatio Alger Award for those who have overcome adversity and made significant contributions to society, and a member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He and his wife Beatrice are recipients of the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service.
Mr. Welters was born and raised in the New York City neighborhoods of Harlem and Bedford Stuyvesant. He earned a BA in economics from Manhattanville College and a JD from New York University School of Law, and is a member of the Bars of New York and the District of Columbia.