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Avery Elected Chairman of Fox Chase Cancer Center Board

PHILADELPHIA (March 28, 2003) — William J. Avery of Gwynedd, Pa., retired chairman and chief executive officer of Crown Cork and Seal Company, has been elected chairman of Fox Chase Cancer Center's board of directors. Avery, who joined the board in 1993, has served as a vice chairman since 2001. He succeeds Philip E. Lippincott, retired CEO of Scott Paper Co., who had chaired the Fox Chase board since 1995.

Shortly after joining the Fox Chase board, Avery became chair of its institutional advancement committee. In this role, he spearheaded a major campaign, launched in 1996, to establish the nation's first comprehensive Research Institute for Cancer Prevention, which opened in 2000 in the Center's new Prevention Pavilion.

With a goal of $38 million over five years, this was the largest capital campaign ever undertaken by Fox Chase. Avery led the campaign to its successful completion in less than four years, raised $1 million over goal and kept campaign expenses well under budget. Also under his campaign guidance, Fox Chase received the largest Kresge Foundation leverage grant ever given to a Pennsylvania institution.

Dr. Robert C. Young, Fox Chase president, calls Avery "a tireless and energetic volunteer in advancing our mission of reducing the burden of cancer. He takes ownership of community problems and organizational causes and helps generate new ideas and innovative solutions."

Avery's volunteer service includes a long list of educational, cultural and other nonprofit organizations besides Fox Chase. Among his affiliations are the American Red Cross; the Anti-Defamation League; the Boy Scouts of America; the YMCA; Greater Philadelphia First; the National Constitution Center; Opportunities Industrialization Center; Gwynedd Mercy College; the Philadelphia Area Accelerated Manufacturing Education (PhAME), which he co-founded; the Police Athletic League (PAL); Project Home; the Avenue of the Arts, Inc.; the Regional Performing Arts Center and the Franklin Institute.

Over the years, Bill has received a breathtaking array of well-deserved accolades. He was knighted by Pope John Paul II and inducted into the Order of St. Gregory in 1995, followed by a Knight Commandership of the Order in 1998. Other honors include the 1995 Americanism Award from the Anti-Defamation League; the 1995 LaSalle University Leadership Award; the 1997 Drexel University Business Leader of the Year Award; the 1998 Community Leader of the Year award by the Arthritis Foundation/Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter; the 1998 Citizen of the Year award by the American Red Cross's Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter; the 1998 Adam Smith Award for Distinguished Leadership from the Pennsylvania Partnership for Economic Education; the 1998 Ellis Island Medal of Honor for Irish/Welsh Business Leader; the 2000 Vision for Philadelphia Award from Philadelphia Hospitality Inc.; and the 2000 William Penn Award from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Avery began his business career at Crown Cork and Seal in 1959 as a management trainee while attending night school at the University of Chicago. He rose quickly in the company, holding various management positions from plant manager to vice president of sales for the Midwest Division.

He moved to Philadelphia in 1974 when he became corporate vice president of sales. In 1979, he was appointed senior vice president and, in 1981, president and chief operating officer. He then served as CEO and board chairman of Crown Cork and Seal from 1990 until his retirement in February 2001. Under his leadership, Crown Cork & Seal became the world's largest manufacturer of packaging products.

At Fox Chase, his commitment to fighting cancer has been recognized by a generous gift from the Connelly Foundation in his name, establishing both the William J. Avery Postdoctoral Fellowship and the W. J. Avery Postdoctoral Fellowship. These fellowships were two of several established as part of the Prevention Campaign Avery chaired.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

Media inquiries only, please contact Diana Quattrone at 215-728-7784.

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