American Association for Cancer Research

Press Releases: 2008

In Memoriam: Hamilton Jordan (1944-2008)


May 21, 2008

PHILADELPHIA - Hamilton Jordan, chief of staff to President Jimmy Carter and an influential and inspirational advocate for cancer research, died May 20, 2008. He was 63.

Jordan was a key advisor and strategist for Jimmy Carter during the 1976 presidential campaign and during Carter's presidency, serving as White House chief of staff from 1979-1980. As such, he played a powerful role in the formulation of election strategies and government policies. Jordan was also well known for advocacy that gave hope and encouragement to people with cancer, whether they were newly diagnosed or celebrating milestones of survivorship. His cancer advocacy and unique point of view are summed up in his New York Times bestselling book, No Such Thing as a Bad Day.

A founding trustee of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Foundation for the Prevention and Cure of Cancer, Jordan was a highly regarded advocate for increased federal funding for cancer research and a staunch supporter of AACR's mission to prevent and cure cancer through research, education, communication and collaboration.

"The cancer research community has lost one of its greatest champions with the passing of Hamilton Jordan," said AACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.). "His commitment to helping cancer patients and to working for increased funding for cancer research was extraordinary. His own courageous battles with four different cancers will continue to be an inspiration to those who knew him and will inspire advocates and others who are working hard to conquer cancer. Hamilton was certainly a beloved friend of the AACR. He will be greatly missed and we offer our deepest sympathies to the Jordan family."

In 1982, Jordan and his wife Dorothy founded Camp Sunshine, one of the first non-profit camps for children with cancer, and later founded Camp Kudzu, a non-profit camp for children with juvenile diabetes.

An honored public servant, Jordan received the AACR's Public Service Award in 2002 in recognition of his efforts and dedication to help increase awareness about cancer. In 2003 he spearheaded a major joint initiative between the AACR and the Lance Armstrong Foundation to educate the then Presidential candidates about the importance of funding for cancer research. That same year he received the Society of Surgical Oncology's James Ewing Public Service Award. Jordan was awarded an honorary Ph.D. from the Medical College of Georgia in 2004 for "Service to the citizens of our state and nation suffering from cancer and juvenile diabetes."

In addition to his service on the AACR Foundation board of trustees, Jordan also served on the board of directors of the Lance Armstrong Foundation; the board of directors of Translational Genomics (TGEN); and as the vice chairman of Van Andel Foundation Cancer Institute. He also served at the invitation of former President George Bush as a member of C-Change, an advisory coalition whose goal is to develop a national strategy for accelerating the cure of cancer.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes over 27,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and 80 other countries. AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special Conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. AACR publishes five major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Its most recent publication and its sixth major journal, Cancer Prevention Research, is dedicated exclusively to cancer prevention, from preclinical research to clinical trials. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.

Contact: Staci Vernick Goldberg
(267) 646-0616
staci.goldberg@aacr.org