Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Awards Colorado State University Cancer Expert One of Three Â??colorado Nobelsâ?�

Dr. Stephen Withrow, director of the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center and the Stuart Endowed Chair for Oncology, was today presented one of three prestigious Bonfils-Stanton Foundation award. The $25,000 award was one of three given to Colorado citizens for lifetime achievements in the arts and humanities, community service, and science and medicine.  

Often described as the Colorado version of the Nobel Prize, Dr. Withrow was recognized with the award for pioneering techniques in cancer treatments in animals that show promise in treating human cancer, including breast and bone cancer.

"These are extraordinary individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to our community and beyond," said Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Board Chairman Johnston R. Livingston, to an audience of nearly 100 who gathered to fete the honorees. "By recognizing them, we hope not only to draw attention to what they have done, but to inspire others, as well."

Dr. Withrow’s research has led to the development of the "cisplatin sponge" that delivers chemotherapy directly to the site of tumors in animals. This technique is being tested for application in humans, including a less invasive chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. His work in limb-sparing technology includes the development of a special bone replacement material that is proving successful in the treatment of bone cancer.  

Twenty-five years ago, Withrow established Colorado State’s Animal Cancer Center, now the largest animal cancer center in the world. The center has trained more veterinary surgical, medical and radiation oncologists than any other veterinary institution. The center, a branch of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital within the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has pioneered numerous surgical, radiation therapy and chemotherapy procedures for animals with cancer. The center treats up to 2,000 pets a year with cancer and handles a volume of 10,000 appointments.

Withrow led a major campaign to build a new facility for the center in 1998, and successfully raised $9.3 million for a new wing on the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the largest privately-funded building in the university’s history.

Others honored with the award today were Maestra Marin Alsop, music director laureate of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and Noel Cunningham, owner of Strings restaurant and a humanitarian dedicated to hunger relief efforts locally and in Africa.

Marin Alsop has transformed the Colorado Symphony Orchestra into one of the region’s premier cultural organizations and an emerging leader among American symphony orchestras. She was appointed music director laureate in 2002 and was recently designated conductor laureate, a position that ensures a long-term relationship with the CSO. Her commitment to artistic excellence and expansive programming and her engaging stage presence have brought national recognition to the orchestra and endeared her to the Colorado arts community.

Noel Cunningham, a native of Dublin, Ireland, has owned Strings restaurant in Denver since 1986.  Cunningham started Quarters for Kids, a program which supports food programs for children in local shelters, and co-founded Taste of the Nation which supports Share Our Strength, an organization of restaurateurs committed to helping the hungry and homeless. Cunningham and his wife, Tammy, started the Cunningham Foundation and have raised more than a half million dollars for the education and health care needs of victims of famine in sub-Sahara Africa.

The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation’s award program was created in 1984. Honorees are recommended to the Board of Trustees by panels of past recipients who review nominees from business and community leaders throughout Colorado.  

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The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation is a private, nonprofit Colorado corporation created to enhance the quality of life for residents of Colorado. The focus of the Foundation is to advance excellence in the areas of arts and culture, community service, and science and medicine, through strategic investments resulting in significant and unique progress in these fields.

Charles Edwin Stanton established the foundation in 1962 following the death of his wife, Mary Madeline (May) Bonfils Stanton. Mrs. Stanton was the daughter of Belle and Frederick Bonfils, a co-founder of The Denver Post newspaper. The majority of funds for the Foundation came from the sale of Belmar Farms located in Lakewood, the current site of the Belmar Library, Lakewood City Commons, the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Amphitheater and Belmar, Lakewood’s new "downtown neighborhood."

The Trustees of the Foundation continue the legacy of Charles Edwin Stanton and May Bonfils Stanton through grants to Colorado nonprofit organizations. Grants are made in the Foundation’s areas of interest in three categories: operating support for specific programs, projects and initiatives; capital projects; and a new "capacity-building" initiative. Since its founding, the foundation has awarded over $28 million in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Colorado.

In recognition of Mr. Stanton’s desire to recognize individuals who are making significant and unique contributions in the fields of Arts and Culture, Community Service, and Science and Medicine, the Foundation established the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Awards in 1984. Each year since then, the Trustees have honored three outstanding Coloradoans with the dual goals of bringing acclaim to their efforts and motivating others to greater accomplishments on behalf of Colorado and its citizens. The awards have been characterized as "Colorado’s version of the Nobel Prize." The award recipients each receive $25,000.

Suggestions for nominations for the awards are requested from a broad base of community and business leaders throughout the State. Candidates’ names are given to panels, comprised of past honorees, who review and carefully study the candidates’ backgrounds and records of accomplishment. The panels then advance the names of their finalists to the Foundation’s board of trustees, which makes the final selections.

2003 Award for Science and Medicine
Stephen J. Withrow, D.V.M.

A native of Wisconsin, Stephen J. Withrow received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota. He completed his internship and residency training at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, followed by orthopedic fellowships at The Mayo Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital.  

After serving as an Associate Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Withrow joined the faculty in the Department of Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University in 1978.  He is the director of Colorado State’s Animal Cancer Center and holds the Stuart Endowed Chair for Oncology. He has distinguished himself nationally and internationally through his pioneering work in veterinary surgical oncology. He has made significant contributions to science, as well as human and animal medicine, through cancer treatment techniques including a "cisplatin sponge" that delivers chemotherapy directly to the site of a tumor. This technique has shown promise in a number of applications, including a less invasive chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. In another area of research, his work in limb sparing technology includes the development of a special bone replacement material that is proving successful in the treatment of bone cancer.

Dr. Withrow led the fundraising for the $9 million, 35000 square foot Animal Cancer Center, making this project the largest privately funded facility in the University’s history. This state of the art Center has positioned Colorado State at the forefront of research in cancer biology, treatment and prevention. In total, he has raised more than $20 million in private giving for the center, including funding for two endowed chairs, one of which he holds.

In addition to his research and clinical accomplishments, Dr. Withrow has been instrumental in developing graduate training programs that have produced a majority of the leading veterinary surgical oncologists in North America and in other countries. International recognition of Dr. Withrow’s stature is demonstrated by numerous worldwide speaking engagements. He is the author of the authoritative text in the field of veterinary oncology.

Among Dr. Withrow’s prestigious professional affiliations are the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, the American College of Veterinary Medicine, the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the Veterinary Cancer Society, which he served as president.    In addition to awards in teaching and research, he received the prestigious Gaines Award in both Canada and the United States.

For the past 23 years, Dr. Withrow has been a counselor and fundraiser for the Sky High Hope Camp for children with cancer. This camp is one of the most memorable events in the short lives of many of the children. He received the Ronald McDonald House Volunteer of the Year award in 2003 in recognition of these efforts.