Faculty Spotlight

The department mourns the loss of Ollie Press, who died Friday from complications from glioma, a brain cancer. He was 65. 

Among his many contributions, Press was an extraordinary physician to patients with blood cancers and an internationally renowned scientist. He made foundational contributions to the development of cancer immunotherapies, including his pioneering development of monoclonal antibodies to target radionuclides to tumors.

He always kept the immediate needs of cancer patients foremost in his translational science, and his scientific impact stretches from fundamental research through national cooperative group trials.

He was a widely respected leader in his field. He served as interim director of the Hutch's Clinical Research Division and acting senior vice president of the Hutch for more than three years, and he helped define research directions and clinical care standards through his leadership of national policy and guidelines committees.

A distinguished alumnus of the UW School of Medicine, he epitomized academic medicine by combining scientific rigor with tremendous compassion for each patient.

"He was a quadruple threat," said Department Chair Dr. William Bremner. "He was a compassionate physician, a brilliant researcher, a patient mentor and a strategic administrator."

Press was the recipient of many awards over the years, including last year's Leaders in Health Care Award, given by Seattle Business Magazine to those who have most influenced the course of medicine and health care. Just last Wednesday, he and his wife, Nancy Press, were honored with a Distinguished Service Award at the Lymphoma Research Foundation's annual gala.

Mentorship

Dr. Oliver Press receiving the MSTP Alumnus Award from Dr. Paul Ramsey
Dr. Oliver Press receiving the MSTP Alumnus Award from Dr. Paul Ramsey
Press was a truly remarkable mentor to 72 direct mentees over the course of his career, plus the many who benefited from his leadership in the UW/Fred Hutch Medical Scientist Training Program and the UW Medicine/Fred Hutch Oncology Fellowship Training program.


In his honor, his colleague Dr. Mary-Claire King has led an effort by colleagues, patients and friends to establish the Oliver W. Press ARCS Foundation Endowed Fellowship ("The Ollie") to support MD/PhD students in the UW/Fred Hutch Medical Scientist Training Program.

"Serving as a mentor is the most rewarding part of my career," Press said after receiving the 2016 Department of Medicine Mentorship Award for Excellence in Mentoring Physician/Scientists. "It's a terrific honor to receive this award."

And in February, Fred Hutch unveiled the Oliver "Ollie" W. Press Award for Extraordinary Mentorship, which was created by Press' colleagues to honor his impact on cancer research, his colleagues' careers and his patients. 

We know that his legacy and his work will live on through his many trainees, including several who are now faculty members in our consortium.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Oliver "Ollie" W. Press Award for Extraordinary Mentorship and the Oliver W. Press ARCS Foundation Endowed Fellowship ("The Ollie").

Biography

Dr. Oliver "Ollie" Press

Press received his MD/PhD in 1979, as part of the University of Washington's Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). He completed his internship and residency at Mass General in 1982 before returning to Seattle as a chief resident and fellow in oncology. 

He held the David and Patricia Giuliani/Oliver Press Endowed Chair in Cancer Research and was a member of Fred Hutch's Clinical Research Division, a professor of medicine and adjunct professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington, and a medical oncologist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and UW Medicine.

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If you would like to read more about the life and work of Dr. Press, please see the story: "Mourning the loss of Dr. Oliver 'Ollie' Press" on the Fred Hutch website.