St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has dedicated and opened the Marlo Thomas Center for Global Education and Collaboration on the
St. Jude campus.

The new center, which will sit atop the world’s first proton therapy center designed for and dedicated solely to the treatment of children, is critical to St. Jude in leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

The center is named for St. Jude National Outreach Director Marlo Thomas, and in recognition of a lifetime spent working for St. Jude to raise awareness and funds for the research and treatment of childhood cancer. Ms. Thomas was joined at today’s ceremony by former United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Secretary Clinton previously attended the dedication and opening of St. Jude’s Patient Care Center in 1994 when she was First Lady of the United States.

The Marlo Thomas Center for Global Education and Collaboration is a key piece of a new $200 million, LEED Gold certified building on the St. Jude campus to usher in a new era of research, education, collaboration, care and treatment for children with cancer. In addition to sitting atop the world’s first proton therapy center dedicated solely to the treatment of children, the 38,000-square-foot center will become the hub for the St. Jude International Outreach Program, which aims to improve childhood cancer survival rates worldwide through 25 official partner sites in 17 countries. The center also will support the training and education of St. Jude’s postdoctoral and graduate fellows on their way to becoming tomorrow’s scientific and medical leaders. Other unique features of the center include a state-of-the-art medical library, two auditoriums, seating 75 and 400, and meeting rooms where doctors and researchers can work collaboratively, consulting on cases, sharing information and research with health care professionals around the globe.

“This building is the celebration of a generation,” says Marlo Thomas, “and I am proud to stand as a symbol for all of us who heard the stories as children about how our immigrant grandparents came to this country and carved out a life for their families with their own hands. And how they stood shoulder to shoulder with my father as he envisioned this great hospital and became, as he called them, an army of ‘proud beggars’ for the world’s sickest children. That this new center bears my name is a tremendous honor to me, and in accepting it, I vow to continue to be a proud beggar on behalf of children around the world.”

Marlo has worked tirelessly for the mission of St. Jude, which was founded by her father, the late entertainer, Danny Thomas. She has created a legacy as a champion for children at St. Jude and around the world as she has appeared in public service announcements, on national television programs and at fundraising events across the country to advance the St. Jude mission. Along with siblings Terre and Tony Thomas, she created the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign that encourages holiday shoppers to support the lifesaving work of St. Jude. Over the past decade, the campaign has raised nearly $500 million for St. Jude children and families.

Marlo’s body of work, including her advocacy for patients and families battling childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases, recently earned her the nation’s highest civilian honor. She is one of 19 individuals who will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House on November 24, 2014.

“This is a historic day for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as we celebrate the opening of this wonderful facility and honor our most dedicated volunteer and advocate, Marlo Thomas,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude. “Marlo’s tireless efforts to share the St. Jude mission have reached millions of supporters and have impacted the lives of countless families and children who have turned to St. Jude in their hour of need.”

“One of the guiding principles of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has always been to share discoveries with the global research community to speed progress against childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases,” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude President and Chief Executive Officer. “This center is a brick-and-mortar extension of that philosophy, offering researchers at St. Jude and around the world an innovative space to learn, to share, and to develop the next big advances in science and medicine.”

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