At cancer center groundbreaking, new names unveiled

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | May 08, 2013

Donors and supporters, including from left Jim McClurg, Ph.D., Amy Scott, Pamela Buffett, Gov. Dave Heineman, Susie Buffett, CL Werner and Rachel Werner, prepare for the ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday.

Donors and supporters, including from left Jim McClurg, Ph.D., Amy Scott, Pamela Buffett, Gov. Dave Heineman, Susie Buffett, CL Werner and Rachel Werner, prepare for the ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday.

Under a sunny sky, the first shovelfuls of earth were turned Tuesday morning, symbolically beginning construction of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

A large group of UNMC dignitaries, cancer center donors and guests gathered under a tent in front of the Durham Research Center II to thank donors and supporters, as well as to unveil the names of:

The C.L. Werner Cancer Hospital;
The Suzanne and Walter Scott Cancer Research Tower; and
The Yanney Conference Center.

CL Werner, honorary chairman of the CL Werner Foundation Board, said he is honored to support the project, saying it would be “a leading cancer center in the world.

“I am proud the Cancer Hospital is in Omaha and hope everyone shares my excitement about this state-of-the-art initiative,” he said.

Werner serves as chairman emeritus of Werner Enterprises, Inc., one of the largest truckload motor carriers in the nation.

Mike Yanney reacts to the announcement of the Yanney Conference Center.

Mike Yanney reacts to the announcement of the Yanney Conference Center.

Gail Walling Yanney, M.D., and Mike Yanney are co-chairs of the capital campaign for the cancer center, and Mike Yanney could be seen wiping tears from his eyes after the surprise-naming announcement.

Suzanne and Walter Scott Jr. are well-known Omaha philanthropists and active in community affairs. Walter Scott serves as chairman of the Board of Policy Advisors for the University of Nebraska Peter Kiewit Institute, Heritage Services and the Omaha Zoological Society, among other leadership roles. Suzanne Scott is a director of the Omaha Zoological Society and a former director of numerous community organizations including Joslyn Art Museum, The Salvation Army and United Way of the Midlands.

Speakers took to the stage to express excitement over the transformative project and appreciation for its generous supporters, including Gov. Dave Heineman, who called it “a remarkable and historic day” for UNMC and the entire state of Nebraska.

Susie Buffett, who spoke on behalf of the lead donor Pamela Buffett, called the new center “an international beacon of light,” while Tim Clare, chairman of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, said UNMC should update its self-description from a “500-mile campus” to a “worldwide campus.”

Speakers lauded the project as a strong example of a public-private partnership.

“Every Nebraskan has made this event possible,” Walling Yanney said.

“We greatly appreciate these significant investments in the cancer center,” said NU President James B. Milliken.

The NU Board of Regents will vote on the namings at its June meeting.