In Memory of Richard J. Solove
Richard J. Solove, a dear friend of The Ohio State University, who passed away Friday, January 28, is remembered for his love for our cancer program, which led to a legacy of support. His contributions will enable us to continue our leadership role in the global fight against cancer in its many forms.
Mr. Solove once said that he had never given much thought to a legacy, but he added that he would much rather be remembered for contributing to the eradication of cancer than for anything else. He can rest assured that his passion for the dream he shared with his good friend, Arthur G. James, MD, of bringing a freestanding cancer hospital to central Ohio, along with his unbridled generosity to our cancer program, will always stand out among his many achievements as a prominent businessman and philanthropist in this community.
The Solove name has long been associated with Ohio State and central Ohio. In 1948 he earned a degree in pharmacy here, and he later owned three Columbus drugstores before devoting himself fully to real-estate development in 1962. It was his relationship with Dr. James, a surgical oncologist at Ohio State who treated Mr. Solove's father for cancer in the 1950s, that drew him closer to our cancer program. In 1977, Dr. James asked him and other Columbus businessmen for help in pursuing a cancer hospital at Ohio State. Mr. Solove worked with Gov. James Rhodes and the Ohio Legislature to secure funding for the hospital.
He was a founding member of The James Foundation Board and served as its president for five years. In 1999, he made a major gift of $20 million for cancer genetics research at Ohio State, after which the University's Board of Trustees changed the hospital's name to the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Cancer again touched his life the following year, when his younger sister, Bernice, succumbed to the disease.
In 2005, gifts from the late Mrs. James, the James family, and friends and former patients of Dr. James established the Dr. Arthur G. and Mildred C. James Professorship in Surgical Oncology. Fittingly, this professorship was bestowed upon William B. Farrar, MD, director of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Ohio State, who trained with Dr. James and later worked as his partner for several years. In early 2006, through a generous gift from Mr. Solove in memory of Dr. and Mrs. James, this professorship attained endowed chair level leading to The Arthur G. and Mildred C. James – Richard J. Solove Chair in Surgical Oncology. Dr. Farrar now holds that chair.
Despite this acclaim, Mr. Solove remained humble whenever he was asked about his charitable contributions, which culminated in his donation to The James of proceeds from the 2007 auction of his collection of 13 vintage Rolls-Royce automobiles. "I'm not doing this to be acknowledged," he said, explaining that he simply felt very strongly about stopping cancer, a disease that directly or indirectly touches almost everyone.
Mr. Solove also said he was "not interested in being the richest man in the cemetery. To see the rewards of your efforts in life, that is the true virtue." He indeed saw many rewards of his efforts against cancer. His lasting gift to humanity is that future generations will see even more.
"I know firsthand what it means to be affected by a cancer death, and everyone has or will be affected by cancer sometime," Mr. Solove said. "I do deeply love this hospital, and the progress that's been made is incredible. Many significant goals have been fulfilled over the years, and I believe we are at the cusp of even bigger accomplishments and breakthroughs. I hope this philanthropy can be contagious, since we can achieve so much more with the help of our friends and supporters around the country."
The OSUCCC – James extends our sympathies to Mr. Solove's wife, LaDonna, and to the Solove family.