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OSU mourns death of cancer research advocate

Courtesy of OSU Medical Center

Richard J. Solove, a benefactor to the James Cancer Hospital at the Ohio State Medical Center, died on Friday. He was 85 years old.

Richard, or Dick, was a 1948 OSU graduate and a well-known cancer research advocate who left behind a legacy in his effort to eradicate cancer.

Along with Dr. Arthur James and Gov. James Rhodes, Solove worked to bring a cancer hospital to OSU. Solove served as a founding member of the James Foundation Board and later served five years as president of the board.

The original director and former CEO of the cancer hospital and current vice president of the OSU Medical Center Expansion and Outreach, Dr. David Schuller, was a personal friend of Solove.

“Mr. Solove was one of the community leaders that was involved with the foundation board that was intended to find money to build the hospital and to raise money to support cancer research at the hospital,” Schuller told The Lantern.

In 1999, Solove made a contribution to the hospital and to the advancement of cancer research.

“He gave a commitment of some $20 million to support our c

ancer research program,” Schuller said. “With that we developed the Cancer Genetics Research Program, which has now developed a reputation as being one of the premier cancer genetics research programs not just in this country, but throughout the world.”

After the contribution, the University’s Board of Trustees changed the name of the hospital to the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

“Dick Solove was among the university’s most generous alumni, creating an enduring legacy not of bricks and mortar, but of powerful minds and caring individuals working with patients and their families to find a cure for cancer,” said President E. Gordon Gee in a statement Friday.

Schuller said Solove’s death was the result of a “combination of some serious health problems.” He said as those health problems became more severe, Solove was not able to cope with them.

Solove was inspired to defeat cancer because of the personal struggles that affected him. Both Solove’s father and sister were diagnosed with cancer. After the death of his father, Solove saw a need for a cancer hospital in central Ohio.

“I know firsthand what it means to be affected by a cancer death, and everyone has or will be affected by cancer sometime,” Solove said before his death. “I do deeply love this hospital, and the progress that’s been made is incredible.”

Schuller said Solove was the “ultimate ambassador” for the cancer program at OSU and for OSU in general.

“He was much more than just somebody that wrote a check for his support, he was a tireless worker, an advisor to us and an advocate for us,” Schuller said.

Gee said Solove will continue to be an inspiration.

“Dick understood that discovering a cure would take time, resources, and a unique combination of researchers and physicians,” Gee said in a statement Friday. “All of us at Ohio State are humbled by his trust and investment in us.  His passion fuels our work each and every day.” 

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