In 2022, MSU Alumnus Stephen Hickman (’64, Business); his wife, Sally; and their family—daughter Stephanie Hickman Boyse, a 1990 graduate of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences; daughter Tracy Hickman, who earned a degree in interior design in 1988; and Tracy’s spouse, Chad Munger, a 1988 graduate of the College of Arts and Letters—made a $6 million gift to support cancer research and treatment at Michigan State University.
Their gift will created a $3 million expendable fund to fuel research and initiatives that advance the standard of care in veterinary and human medicine, including a clinical innovations program in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
The remaining $3 million established the Hickman Family Endowed Chair in Oncology, which takes advantage of the synergy between veterinary and human medicine to develop diagnostic and therapeutic tools to fight cancer in people and animals.
Kurt Zinn, DVM, MS, PhD, will serve as the Hickman Family Endowed Chair in Oncology for a five-year term. Zinn arrived at MSU in 2017; while he is jointly appointed between the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Human Medicine (Department of Radiology), and the College of Engineering (Department of Biomedical Engineering), he operates out of the University’s Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering, located within MSU Bioengineering. Zinn currently manages an active research portfolio in excess of $14 million of extramural funding. He is well-known in his field due to his experience with clinical translation of imaging and therapeutic agents for cancer, particularly targeted radiation therapy. Zinn has contributed significantly to more than 10 phase-1 clinical trials, published more than 180 studies, and in 2015, received the Distinguished Investigator Award from the Academy of Radiology Research. In addition, he holds 3 patents for discoveries relating to radioisotopes.
The Hickman Family Endowed Chair in Oncology was established through half of a $6 million endowment from alumnus Stephen Hickman (’64, Business); his wife, Sally; and their family—daughter Stephanie Hickman Boyse, a 1990 graduate of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences; daughter Tracy Hickman, who earned a degree in interior design in 1988; and Tracy’s spouse, Chad Munger, a 1988 graduate of the College of Arts and Letters. Contributing to work that advances efforts to vanquish cancer is a long-term philanthropic priority for the Hickman’s, and the family has been impressed by MSU’s collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to research and its commitment to improving access to quality healthcare across the state.
With this endowment, Zinn will continue his research, which includes the development of molecular imaging approaches for cancer diagnosis, treatment monitoring, and therapy, especially the combination of radiation therapy with immunology.