MUSC Hollings Cancer Center was founded with a sweeping goal to reduce cancer deaths and a specific mission to address the cancers that most affect people in South Carolina.
From its inception, Hollings intended to serve as a resource for hospitals and doctors throughout the state and to direct research toward solving cancer problems specific to South Carolina. Noting some of those problems, including the then-highest death rate for prostate cancer and second-highest death rate for cervical cancer, the program for the dedication ceremony in October 1992 spoke plainly: “We can’t expect scientists in Miami or Alabama to find out why — we need to do the research here.”
This year, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, which opened its doors to patients in 1993. A gleaming, energy-efficient, 88,000-square-foot new building on the inside, the exterior of Hollings highlighted the history of the site: the cancer center retained the façade of the first building on the modern MUSC campus, dating to 1913.
Today, Hollings serves nearly 6,000 patients each year, while researchers maintain a robust portfolio of basic and translational science research. Through partnerships with institutions throughout the state, including the MUSC Health Regional Health Network, Hollings brings the latest care to communities far and wide. We remain as focused as ever on our mission: to reduce the burden of cancer on the lives of the people of South Carolina.
There have been many milestones and memorable moments during our first 30 years. These are some of the highlights:
Senator Hollings’ Legacy
MUSC Hollings Cancer Center bears the name of Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, a U.S. senator who had a vision for a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in South Carolina. Hollings was born and raised in Charleston, graduated from The Citadel and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Upon his return home, he obtained a law degree and served in the General Assembly before being elected governor in 1958. He then went on to serve in the U.S. Senate from 1966 to 2005.
During his career, he took a great interest in health care, particularly in health disparities and the lack of access in rural communities. Hollings worked to secure the funding that was needed to establish a cancer center in South Carolina, and also worked over the long term to ensure that federal investment in biomedical research was available. He collaborated with MUSC leaders to attract some of the world’s best physicians and researchers.
In addition to these efforts, Hollings helped lead the congressional effort to develop the Community Health Center program, which brings medical care to poor and underserved areas. He also authored legislation creating a nationwide program to screen women for breast and cervical cancer and worked with other senators on the appropriations committee to double funding for the National Institutes of Health.