28 U A B C O M P R E H E N S I V E C A N C E R C E N T E R
In Memoriam The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center lost two of its most recognized and
respected leaders in late 2012: John Durant, M.D., and Seng-jaw Soong, Ph.D. Both
men were highly regarded and internationally respected in their fields, and both were influential in making the
Cancer Center what it is today. We at the Cancer Center mourn their loss and remain grateful for their service.
Dr. Durant, who passed away on October 28, 2012, was the founding director of the UAB
Comprehensive Cancer Center. His vision and ability to create a transdisciplinary team of clini-
cians and basic scientists led UAB s cancer program to be one of the first eight institutions
to be designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Act in 1971.
Following 14 years as Cancer Center director, Dr. Durant was named president and CEO of the
Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, serving in that capacity from 1983 to 1988. In 1988,
he returned to UAB as senior vice president for health affairs, and in 1995, he became the first
executive vice president of the American Society for Clinical Oncology. Dr. Durant made a major
impact on each of these organizations in addition to being a pioneer in medical oncology and in
the use of combination chemotherapy.
Dr. Soong passed away unexpectedly on December 28, 2012. He established and led the
Cancer Center s Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Unit from 1976 to 2008. During that time,
Dr. Soong collaborated in publishing more than 300 peer-reviewed medical articles, many of
which focused on melanoma, his primary research interest. His work has been featured in
some of the most prestigious biomedical journals in the world and cited more than 18,600
times in various medical literatures. Dr. Soong served a variety of distinguished leadership
positions both at UAB and nationally, and in 1999, he was named the first recipient of the
Cancer Center s Distinguished Faculty Award.
John Durant, M.D.
Seng-jaw Soong, Ph.D.