Author Biographical Info

Randolph Lee Clark was born July 2, 1906 to Randolph Lee Clark, Sr., teacher and president of several Texas colleges including Texas Christian University, and Leni Leoti Sypert, musician and teacher. As the son and grandson of college presidents, he lived with role models whose optimistic outlook and ideals nurtured his untiring ability to work toward the goal of containing and possibly curing cancer. After his father’s death, he preferred to be known as R. Lee Clark.

Dr. Clark’s early medical career as Chief Resident at the American Hospital in Paris and as a Fellow at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota laid the foundation for concepts that became the cornerstone of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. His military service enabled him to meet surgeons and physicians from throughout the United States and to exchange ideas and plans for postwar institutions. He was appointed Director of Surgical Research for the U.S. Army (Air) Medical Corps as well as Consultant to the Air Surgeon General. Clark’s successes were recognized by the Regents of the University of Texas and in 1946 he was asked to develop what would become the nation’s first cancer hospital within a university system.

In Houston, he started work with 22 employees in the house and stables cum carriage-house of a donated family estate. The stables housed research laboratories for biochemistry and biology. Dr. Clark located surplus Army barracks, had them moved to the estate grounds, and converted them to a clinic. During this time, employees, including some ex-military associates, were recruited to expand M.D. Anderson Hospital. A story then circulating told of one employee asking another if he had noticed how ‘vague’ Dr. Clark was when discussing salaries, benefits, laboratory space, and other necessities. The second employee replied, “Oh, no, ‘vague’ is much too precise a word.”

Lee Clark had vision, energy, and the ability to inspire the generosity of major businessmen in Houston and citizens throughout Texas. The M.D. Anderson Foundation was also a benefactor. At that time, the Texas Medical Center was expanding and M.D. Anderson Hospital became one of its cornerstones. Dr. Clark collaborated with city, state, and eventually national and international leaders in medicine whose intent was to consider the problem of “incurable” cancer patients and to find a solution.

Clark married Bertha Margaret Davis, MD, an anesthesiologist from Asheville, North Carolina, on June 11, 1932. They had two children, Randolph Lee and Rabia Lynn. Lee Clark died May 3, 1994.

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Research, Sports, Surgery


Randolph Lee Clark, MD. Interviewed by Don Macon. Dr. Clark was the son of educators and long-time president of MD Anderson Hospital. Dr. Clark discusses his personal and family history in the Texas towns of Hereford, Midland, and Wichita Falls. He talked about the founding of Add-Ran College, now known as Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, named after his great uncles Addison and Randolph Clark. Dr. Clark related his early interest in sports and activities at the summer resort of the College of the YMCA at Blue Ridge, South Carolina, where he worked for two seasons. He revealed the impact on his professional years of the 18 months he directed research for DuPont at their Newark, New Jersey Plant, after his graduation from the Universality of South Carolina with degrees in Chemical Engineering, English and Pre-Med, and before receiving his MD from the Medical College of Virginia in 1932. He talks about his fascinating career, his professional associations at home and abroad, his pioneering work in surgery and his long association with and love for the Anderson. The interview ends when he receives a phone call from the University of Texas. See more at


Digital copies made available by the Texas Medical Center Library.