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1945 - 2023

Franklyn Prendergast, M.D., Ph.D. (BIOC ’77)

03/07/1945 – 10/12/2023

Franklyn G. Prendergast, MD, PhD, emeritus professor at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science who was the first Black director of an NCI-designated cancer center, and a longtime member of the AACR, died October 12, 2023, at the age of 78.

Prendergast earned his medical degree from the University of the West Indies in 1968. He attended Lincoln College of the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1971 and later a master’s degree in physiology. He began a residency in internal medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1971, and received a doctoral degree in biochemistry from a joint program of Mayo and the University of Minnesota in 1977.

He joined the faculty of the Department of Pharmacology at the Mayo Graduate School, now known as the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. In 1986, he was appointed professor in the Department of Pharmacology and professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Prendergast was appointed director of research at Mayo in 1989, serving until 1992. From 1995 to 2009, he served as director of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center. He was charter director of the Mayo Center for Individualized Medicine from 2006 until he retired from Mayo in 2014.

He also served in governance roles at Mayo. He was a member of the Mayo Clinic board of governors and the Mayo Foundation board of trustees from 1990 to 2009.

He was a non-executive member of the board of directors of Eli Lilly and Co. from 1995 to 2017 and served on the boards of several biotech companies.

Prendergast was a member of AACR since 1995 and belonged to the Minorities in Cancer Research group. He served as a member of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors and the National Cancer Advisory Board.

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