In a ceremony filled with symbolism and celebration, the Stuart University Chair in Oncology passed from Dr. Stephen Withrow, founding director of CSU’s Flint Animal Cancer Center, to Dr. Susan Lana, oncology professor and clinical oncology service chief at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Colorado State University confers chairs to a limited number of faculty to acknowledge outstanding scholarship and teaching practices, making the University Chair one of its highest honors.
The Stuart University Chair in Oncology was established in 2001 by the late E. Hadley Stuart, Jr., a long-time advocate and benefactor of the Flint Animal Cancer Center. It was the first endowed chair in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. His daughter, Nan Stuart, attended the ceremony with her golden retriever, Kelsey.
Stuart’s initial gift has grown to exceed $3 million today. The endowment supports research, equipment, and programmatic infrastructure for the chair holder.
Withrow retired as director of the cancer center in July 2010, but continues to work in several capacities as he transitions to full retirement. He felt, however, it was time to transfer the honor and responsibility the chair represents.
“As the first Stuart University Chair in Oncology, it is my honor to pass the torch to a trusted and valued colleague,” said Withrow. “The chair will allow Dr. Lana the flexible funding to continue her valuable work in comparative and translational oncology.”
In considering the transfer of the chair, cancer center leaders felt it was important to honor the purpose of the chair, which recognizes excellence in patient care as well as a true understanding of what compassionate care is all about.
“It was essential to select a person who embodies the values of vision, integrity, and passion, which have guided Dr. Withrow’s tenure as the Stuart University Chair in Oncology until now. The selection committee agreed that Dr. Lana is an exemplary recipient,” said Dr. Rodney Page, director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center and holder of the Stephen J. Withrow Presidential Chair in Oncology,
“It’s an amazing honor to be named the Stuart University Chair in Oncology,” said Lana. “It is also very humbling that the current chair, Dr. Steve Withrow, trusts me to continue his legacy and that the Stuart family trusts me as well.”
Lana completed her D.V.M. at CSU in 1993. Following graduation, she attended Texas A&M University for a small animal internship and then returned to CSU for a residency in medical oncology. She joined the faculty at CSU in 1999.
In addition to teaching, Lana is responsible for providing the strategic vision for the oncology service as the oncology section chief, and working with staff to provide unparalleled care to cancer patients and their humans. She has mentored dozens of oncology specialist trainees and innumerable veterinary students.
In 2003, she established a tissue archiving program, which she continues to manage today. Under her direction, the archive has accumulated approximately 25,000 samples that provide an important cancer research resource for scientists within CSU and at other universities and organizations across the country.
She is an institutional principal investigator in the Comparative Oncology Trials Consortia (COTC), which is a part of the Comparative Oncology Program at the National Cancer Institute and co-directs the COTC Pharmacodynamic Core Laboratory which supports the consortia’s clinical trials.
She has authored over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 12 book chapters. She is also the faculty advisor to the CSU Pet Hospice Program and steadfast supporter of veterinary student initiatives.
“My priority has always been clinical service,” said Lana. “With the resources provided by this position, I intend to maintain and build upon the culture Dr. Withrow established, and continue our multi-modality approach to providing comprehensive and compassionate care.”