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The Wilmot Family

The Wilmot FamilyFor more than 30 years, the Wilmot family has been dedicated to supporting cancer research and care for the Rochester community. What started with the vision of James P. Wilmot and his personal physician, Dr. Jacob Goldstein, establishing a foundation to fund the Wilmot Fellowship Program to advance cancer research, has blossomed into extraordinary leadership, advocacy, and generosity that have helped transform the Wilmot Cancer Institute into the region’s leading provider of cancer care and promising therapies.

Family patriarch and philanthropist James P. Wilmot was founder of Page Airways, a flight school, charter service, and plane supplier, and later Wilmorite, a commercial and industrial development firm that built all of the major malls in the Rochester area. He eventually lost his wife, brother, brother-in-law, two sons, grandson, and great-grandson (Lorette, John, Carl, James, William, Peter, and Crosby) to cancer, and James Wilmot himself died of a brain tumor in 1980.

The Wilmot family’s philanthropic commitment to cancer research began in 1981 when the James P. Wilmot Foundation funded the Wilmot Fellowship Program, which provides funding to train physicians in cancer research. Since then, more than 100 Wilmot Fellows have trained in cancer research at UR Medicine and gone on to pursue careers in cancer research. Since the fellowship program was established, the Wilmot Foundation and the Wilmot family have donated more than $50 million to the University to support cancer research and treatment. The Wilmot Cancer Center was named in honor of James P. Wilmot in 2000.

Mr. Wilmot’s children —James, William, Thomas, and Judy (and all of their children) —have continued to carry on their father’s legacy of expanding the frontiers of cancer research and treatment. Their generous support recently established the Wilmot Distinguished Professorship in Cancer Genomics. A relatively new discipline, cancer genomics involves the use of vast computing power to analyze every gene in a cancer cell and identify the mechanisms that drive each cancer’s growth. That work is the first step toward designing new “targeted therapies” —drugs that act on the precise trouble spots in a cancer cell.

University Trustee Thomas C. Wilmot Sr. is the honorary chair of the Wilmot Cancer Institute’s campaign in support of The Meliora Challenge. Gifts to this campaign will be used to establish endowed professorships, endowed research programs, seed grants, and unrestricted cash funds through the George Eastman Circle, the University’s leadership annual giving society. Judy Wilmot Linehan is a member of the Wilmot Cancer Center Board of Directors, and William B. Wilmot was chair of the James P. Wilmot Foundation.