publication date: Apr. 28, 2017

Nearly 100 cancer patients and others gather for a march to University of Utah President David Pershing’s office on April 24, calling for the reinstatement of Mary Beckerle as director and CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Cover Photo by Scott G Winterton,
Deseret News

Beckerle reinstated as director of Huntsman Cancer Institute

By Matthew Bin Han Ong

A week after her abrupt firing, Mary Beckerle is back in her job as director and CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

The remarkable turnaround comes eight days after the same leadership fired Beckerle—a highly regarded scientist who has led the cancer center since 2006—with no justification other than that she serves at the pleasure of the senior vice president for health sciences (The Cancer Letter, April 21).

Beckerle was fired April 17, via email signed by Vivian Lee, the senior vice president, and David Pershing, president of the university.

The ouster sparked public protests and scathing remarks from oncology luminaries and local opinion leaders. In open rebellion, HCI star scientists, faculty and staff threatened to vote with their feet. A petition on Change.org demanding Beckerle’s return garnered 3,700 signatures, and nearly 100 cancer patients marched on campus April 24, chanting “Reinstate Beckerle!”

Pershing, the university president who fired Beckerle, capitulated on April 25:

“I am pleased to confirm that Dr. Mary Beckerle will, effective immediately, resume her service as the CEO and Director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute with authority over its cancer research, clinical care, and administrative … Continue reading Beckerle reinstated as director of Huntsman cancer institute

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