Roswell Park Cancer Institute's new Clinical Sciences Center now has a formal name. When it opens later this month, the center will be named in honor of local business executive Scott Bieler.
Bieler, the president of West Herr Automotive Group, is also a longtime member of the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation's board of directors.
"I've witnessed firsthand thousands of good outcomes from this institution," Bieler said. "I've been able to know a lot of those people and see the positive, good outcome. I've witnessed personal experience from loved ones who have been here.
"I've seen the empathy. I've seen the heart. I've seen the things you don't see on a doctor's chart that really don't tell you how special this place is, for how they care about people."
Bieler explained he had been considering a major donation for a period of time but seeing the new building proved to be the inspiration. He made the decision to commit when a relative was admitted to Roswell Park and stayed in a room that overlooked the construction.
"Every time I went to visit him, I was looking at that building. That was the final thing that made me say I've got to do this," Bieler said.
The size of his gift was not disclosed at Tuesday morning's announcement. That, officials say, was done at Bieler's request and out of his modesty. However, officials did say that the sizeable gift will be most helpful in a lofty fundraising project.
"Your commitment helps us make a major step towards our ambitious goal of doubling our endowment from 40 to 80 million dollars over the next five years," said Roswell Park Alliance Foundation chair Lee Wortham. "Your gift will impact the lives of countless patients."
One former patient, and a longtime friend and loyal West Herr customer, was among the speakers. Identified only as Sally, she explained that she first met Bieler in 1977 and, when diagnosed many years later with cancer, got his strong recommendation to seek treatment at Roswell Park. She credits his endorsement of the center with saving her life.
"This June I will be celebrating 11 extra amazing years of my life, thanks to Roswell Park," Sally said.
The Scott Bieler Clinical Sciences Center is scheduled to open later this month, according to information shared by Roswell Park Cancer Institute.