Celebrating 50 years of Massey

Join VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center in celebrating 50 years of groundbreaking research, cutting-edge care and impact in the fight against cancer.

Since its early days, VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center has been at the forefront of cancer research, fueling innovation and promoting a legacy of patient- and community-centered care. In 1974, the VCU Board of Visitors established a cancer center on the then named Medical College of Virginia campus. In 1975, through a planning grant received from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the nation’s preeminent authority in cancer research, Massey was cemented among the earlier cohorts of NCI-designated cancer centers in the nation.

Today, Massey is among the top 4% of cancer centers in the U.S. In 2023, the NCI honored us with their highest ranking by designating Massey as a comprehensive cancer center. With Massey’s Comprehensive status, a new generation of cancer centers emerged where research is driven by the needs of the communities it serves. Massey is recognized as an esteemed center for cancer researchers and oncology health care professionals, a hub for community outreach and survivorship programs for cancer patients, and a vital resource for education through academic and training programs for future medical researchers and physicians.

Celebrate with us at a Massey event during our 50th year

Winn headshot"For 50 years, Massey has been at the forefront of what is now a growing movement towards community engagement in cancer care and research. My predecessors, including and especially Massey’s founding director Walter Lawrence Jr., M.D., as well as many clinicians and researchers who came before me, set Massey on the path to national prominence we are walking now."

– Robert A. Winn, M.D., VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center director


A future without cancer starts with YOU.

A future without cancer starts with YOU.

Please join us in celebrating this milestone by making a gift to the Massey 50th Anniversary Fund. Philanthropic support of this fund will provide critical unrestricted funds to propel our research forward and to meet the cancer center’s greatest needs.


Fifty years of research, innovation and impact

2024 will be a year of reflection, celebration and inspiration at Massey as we celebrate all that has been accomplished over the past 50 years. Join us throughout 2024 as we honor this important milestone in our history and continue to look toward the future.

Massey’s founding director, Walter Lawrence, Jr., M.D., a surgeon and former president of the American Cancer Society, was part of the small group that discussed the potential for developing a cancer center in 1974, and as the center’s founding director, led Massey to its first NCI-designation one year later in 1975, placing it among the nation’s elite cancer research institutions.Lawrence was an early champion for social justice and health equity, a legacy that stands today through initiatives designed to build community trust and train the next generation of cancer specialists.

Massey directors David I. Goldman (1988-1995), and Gordon Ginder (1997-2019) guided Massey during a trajectory of steady growth, designed to build its scientific base, while sharpening its cancer focus and dedication to translational research. Since 2019, under the direction of Massey director and Lipman Chair in Oncology, Robert A. Winn, M.D., Massey has expanded its national and global reach, and has become a model for excellence and equity in cancer research and a leader in the global fight against cancer.

Share your Massey story

Share your Massey story

Massey has stood as a beacon of hope, resilience, and innovation in the face of cancer for the last 50 years. But our journey wouldn't be the same without you, our incredible community: Patients, caregivers, supporters, researchers, and neighbors – all working together to rewrite the story of cancer. Now, we want to hear from you!

Did you receive life-changing care after a diagnosis? Did our outreach programs inspire positive change in your community? Did you witness breakthroughs in the lab that gave you hope? We want to celebrate your individual stories alongside Massey's milestones.

Share your Massey story by emailing us at or connecting with us on social media!

Be sure to tag us and use #Massey50 or #OneTeamOneFight

Together, let's make the next 50 years of Massey even more extraordinary. Share your story and help us write the next chapter. One team, one fight!