Robert Woodruff must be smiling from above

The late Robert W. Woodruff would have taken special pleasure in today’s announcement that the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University had received a formal designation by the National Cancer Institute.

Woodruff, president and leader of the Coca-Cola Co. for decades, actually was the center’s “first benefactor,” according to Vicki Riedel, executive director of development for the Winship Cancer Institute.

“It was his first gift to Emory,” Riedel said.

Woodruff made the gift in honor of his mother, who died of cancer in 1937. Shortly thereafter, he founded the Robert Winship Memorial Clinic at Emory University in memory of this maternal grandfather, Robert Winship.

The institute opened more than 65 years ago with four staff members and treated 168 patients in its first year of operation.

Today, Winship treats more than 12,000 Georgians annually. And with the NCI designation, Winship will be able to have more clinical trials for Georgians with cancer.

The Woodruff Foundation has continued to support the Winship Cancer Institute through its various stages of progress.

And I learned today, that Robert W. Woodruff’s middle name was Winship.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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