Wilmot Cancer Center to Honor Former Xerox CEO, Education Leader

Inspiration Award Goes to David T. Kearns for Courageous Cancer Battle

February 03, 2003

The James P. Wilmot Cancer Center will honor former Xerox CEO and education reform leader David T. Kearns with its Inspiration Award for offering hope to cancer patients and survivors. The award will be presented at the fourth annual Discovery Ball on Saturday, May 3rd, at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Kearns is a sinus cancer survivor, having been diagnosed in 1992, while working as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education under former President George H.W. Bush. Throughout aggressive treatment, he completed his two-year appointment and today, serves as chairman emeritus of New American Schools Corp., working for education reform.

“David exemplifies all that our Inspiration Award stands for. He hasn’t skipped a beat with his personal commitment to furthering education in spite of his cancer diagnosis and he makes strides every day,” said Mike Norris, chair of the Wilmot Cancer Center Board.

The presentation of the Inspiration Award is the highlight of the Discovery Ball, a gala fund-raiser for the Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Last year, $375,000 was raised to support cancer research and care in Rochester and leaders are expecting that figure to top $500,000.

The award is presented annually to someone who has given hope to cancer patients and survivors. Previous recipients include Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, figure skater Scott Hamilton, author Peter Teeley, and the late Michael Fennell, a former Yankee bullpen catcher and coach of the baseball team at McQuaid Jesuit High School.

Kearns was Chair and CEO of Xerox Corp. from 1982-1990. Through his leadership, Xerox demonstrated to the world that American business could reinvent itself and compete successfully in a global economy. Prior to joining Xerox, he served as a vice president in the data processing division of IBM.

He has served as chairman of the board for the National Urban League, Junior Achievement, and the University of Rochester. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of Ryder System, Inc. and a former director of the Chase Manhattan Bank and Time Warner, Inc. In addition, he serves as a life trustee of the University of Rochester and is a former trustee of the Ford Foundation. He is a member of the Business Council and the American Philosophical Society.

Kearns has written three books about his experiences in business and education, including. Winning the Brain Race, co-authored with Denis P. Doyle, which outlines a bold plan to make our nation’s schools competitive. He wrote Prophets in the Dark, co-authored with David A. Nadler, to explain how Xerox reinvented itself in order to become a world-wide industry leader and his most recent book, A Legacy of Learning, co-authored with James Harvey, analyzes the difficulty of transforming American schools and calls for a new definition of “public education”.

A 1952 graduate of the University of Rochester, Kearns also served in the U.S. Navy. He and his wife, Shirley, live in New Canaan, Conn. They have six grown children.

The Discovery Ball brings together 1,000 people in support of the Wilmot Cancer Center’s mission to provide the highest quality cancer care and research in Upstate New York. This year’s event is chaired by Jim and Caroline Ryan of Brighton.

Tickets and corporate sponsorships for this black-tie event are available. For more information, contact Sunny Damji, assistant director of special events, at (585) 275-5199.

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Leslie White
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