Dr. Clifton R. Lacy, president and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), and president of the Motolinsky Foundation, said that “Dr. McCormick was selected to receive the award because of his strong and passionate support of biomedical research and education, his dedication and involvement in projects serving the community, and his distinguished and significant service to Rutgers … as a professor and now as its president.”
“I am proud to accept this recognition on behalf of Rutgers and grateful for this vote of confidence in the university’s efforts to advance medical research at this moment in history,” McCormick said. “We find ourselves on the cusp of new and potentially miraculous breakthroughs in such areas as stem cells, one of the most successful uses of which today is in the treatment of leukemia – a disease the Motolinsky Foundation was first established to address. I commend the efforts of the foundation in providing the resources that can make miracles happen.”
McCormick emphasized the need for collaboration in 21st-century research, noting that it is not something that any one person or any one institution can do alone and citing the numerous joint programs and projects in which Rutgers and UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School participate. These include the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute and the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials.
The Motolinsky Foundation was established as a living memorial to Melvyn H. Motolinsky, a young New Brunswick lawyer who died of leukemia at age 25 in 1969. The foundation’s $1 million endowment supports research into leukemia and other blood-related diseases. Most of its programs are at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and include the Melvyn H. Motolinsky Laboratory for Hematology Research, the Motolinsky Fellowship Program and the Melvyn H. and Ab Motolinsky Professorship in Hematology.
For the past 30 years, the foundation has granted its annual Distinguished Citizens Award to honorees for outstanding service to the community. The first honoree was Mason Gross, the late president of Rutgers. Other recipients have included Dr. Denton H. Cooley, a pioneer in open heart surgery; and Lacy, former New Jersey Commissioner of Health and Senior Services and president of RWJUH. Honorees and nominees have been recognized for their outstanding leadership, community service and philanthropic contributions in the fields of medical research.