MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Mikki Van Wyk knows research is the key to finding a cure for cancer. 

The long-time West Virginia University supporter is donating $25,000 to create a research endowment at the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. The endowment is expected to qualify for a match from the state’s Research Trust Fund (RTF), bringing the total investment to $50,000.

The Van Wyk Cancer Research Endowment is aimed at advancing biological, biotechnological and biomedical sciences.

“I have known people that have had cancer and have beat it because of the advances made in research,” said Van Wyk of Potomac, Md.  “I would like to be able to come closer to a cure.”

“We are thrilled with the opportunity of this gift to enable a match from the West Virginia Research Trust Fund. Ms. Van Wyk’s vision to cure cancer and extend life-saving cancer treatments to our patients through our clinical trials efforts and emerging statewide clinical trials network is prescient,” Scot Remick, M.D., director of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, said.

Van Wyk is currently a member of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors. She has been a member of the visiting committees of both the School of Medicine and the Creative Arts Center.

She is presently a member of the Arts at Mason Board for George Mason University and was a founding board member of The Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University, the chair of the Thanks a Million Foundation, a board member of the Boarman Arts Center and a member of the Johns Hopkins University Council of Medicine.

More recently, she has focused on improving access to dental care in West Virginia by sponsoring and helping organize dental clinics that provided free dental care to more than 3,600 people and by helping to establish the permanent Healthy Smiles Community Oral Health Center in Martinsburg.

Van Wyk has worked as a cryptanalyst for the National Security Agency and a writer and editor in science and technology for clients such as Time-Life Books, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the U.S. Congress.  She also has worked as a special education teacher and a supervisor and counselor for adult basic education.

Van Wyk views her gift as merely a chance to give back to a state that has given so much to her.

“The WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center plays a vital role in the daily life of the people of West Virginia. Research funding is hard to get, so it’s important for individuals to seize the opportunity to help out in a way that will benefit the most people,” she said.

In 2008, the state created the RTF with an initial appropriation of $50 million to leverage public and private investments that will transform West Virginia’s economy. WVU is able to tap into the fund to double private gifts that support expansions to research faculty and infrastructure in key areas linked to economic development, healthcare and job growth. To date, private and state dollars combined for WVU total over $33 million.

The WVU Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU.


For more information: Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
bn: 06-07-11