Chemical Abstracts Service: Paying It Forward and Back

Founded in 1907, Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a division of the American Chemical Society, moved its offices onto the campus of The Ohio State University in 1909 when the editor of a small monthly publication was invited to join Ohio State’s chemistry faculty. This marked the beginning of a long and storied relationship with the University. As the CAS staff grew into the hundreds, Ohio State provided CAS with rented facilities and support for more than 50 years. Initially housed in a 15-by-30-foot room, CAS expanded and relocated several times on campus until 1965, when it moved to its own 54-acre site adjacent to the University. Today, widely recognized as the authority on chemical information, CAS provides comprehensive and integrated online databases, including the world’s largest registry of organic and inorganic substances, and protein and DNA sequences. CAS has given much back to Columbus, including providing the setting for the popular summer music program Picnic with the Pops for 28 years.

CAS’s generosity has extended to Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), where CAS president, Robert J. Massie, serves as chair of The James Cancer Hospital Board. In addition to leading the board’s efforts, Massie, president of CAS since 1992, has been credited with bringing his organization into the 21st century by releasing new and innovative products and services, such as SciFinder®.

As part of its ongoing support of Ohio State’s cancer program, CAS has donated its sprawling, lush grounds for several OSUCCC – James events. The inaugural venue for the first Pelotonia in 2009, and again in 2010 and 2011, CAS “was the official starting point and enabled us to accommodate thousands of riders,” a feat that might not otherwise have been accomplished, according to Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, CEO of The James and director of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. “It all began here — Pelotonia has raised more than $42 million so far due in part to the efforts of CAS and Bob Massie.”

Since 2009, CAS has been the site of Cancer Survivors Day hosted by the OSUCCC – James. Attended by thousands of cancer survivors and their families, the 2012 tailgate-themed event included an informational expo, musical entertainment, and Ohio State and pro football legend Chris Spielman, who spoke about his wife Stefanie’s 11-year battle against breast cancer. CAS is also generous in their support of Cancer Survivors Day by donating food, tents and supplies to the event. Bob Massie spoke to event attendees, sharing amusing anecdotes about the former Bash Executive Golf Course where the CAS campus now stands. When CAS moved to that location in 1965, the greens from the course were extracted and donated to OSU. To this day, when golfers are on the practice green at the Ohio State University Golf Club, they are playing on a former piece of CAS grounds. Massie noted that hosting the OSUCCC – James “is the best and highest use of property… and I can think of no higher or better use of this land than to welcome cancer survivors.”

Massie also told survivors, “You bring courage, friendship, community, love of life, the fullest possible perspective on what it means to be family or a friend, as well as what it takes to meet the greatest challenge in life. We admire you. We welcome you. Please come back. We will keep these lawns up so they’ll be ready for you. You deserve that and more.”

It’s a natural progression that CAS will be the setting for the 2013 Up on the Roof event in October and will again host this year’s Cancer Survivors Day the same month.

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