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University and state officials gathered Monday to honor the memory of the influential statesman.

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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper speaks at the N.C. Basnight Cancer Hospital Dedication Ceremony

North Carolina’s state cancer hospital will now bear the name of one of its most influential and dedicated supporters. As a tribute to the legacy of the late Marc Basnight, the former state senate president pro tempore who passed away in 2020, the building was officially renamed the North Carolina Basnight Cancer Hospital in a ceremony Monday at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

“The mission of UNC Health is to promote the health and well-being of the people of North Carolina,” said Wesley Burks, MD, CEO of UNC Health and Dean of the UNC School of Medicine. “Today was a great opportunity to come together to honor Senator Basnight, a man who embodied that mission throughout his career in public service.”

The state’s longest-serving legislative leader, Basnight was instrumental in the opening of the hospital, drawing inspiration from doctors, researchers, patients and caregivers he met during his wife Sandy’s battle with cancer. UNC’s University Cancer Research Fund, its Biomedical Research Imaging Center and the hospital itself are all a direct result of his unwavering focus on bettering the lives of the people of North Carolina.

It was during Sandy Basnight’s treatment for leukemia that Marc Basnight saw the need for enhanced research capabilities, more advanced technologies and equipment, and better healthcare facilities to help fight the state’s deadliest disease. He pushed for state funding to build the cancer hospital, which tripled the space available for treatment. Today, residents from North Carolina and beyond make more than 270,000 outpatient visits each year to the cancer hospital, the clinical home for UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and its affiliated clinics.

“When patients and their loved ones walk through the doors of the North Carolina Basnight Cancer Hospital, they are not alone,” said Janet Hadar, UNC Hospitals president. “There are teams of health care professionals and support staff dedicated to providing world-class care in a safe and compassionate manner.”

In addition to Burks and Hadar, speakers at Monday’s event featured a number of state dignitaries including Governor Roy Cooper, UNC System President Peter Hans and State Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger as well Bill Roper, MD, MPH, former interim president of the UNC System, CEO of UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine Dean and former UNC System President Erskine Bowles. Guests also heard from Shekinah Elmore, MD, MPH, assistant professor, UNC Radiation Oncology and Urology, and Janine Jones, a member of the hospital’s Patient & Family Advisory Council and a cancer survivor.

“When people faced challenges, big or small, my friend Senator Basnight was ready to help,” Governor Cooper said. “He had a relentless drive to make North Carolina its best, and this cancer hospital is a part of his tremendous legacy in our state.”

About UNC Health

UNC Health is a state entity and an affiliated enterprise of the University of North Carolina system, comprised of 16 hospitals, 20 hospital campuses and more than 900 clinics along with the clinical patient care programs of the UNC School of Medicine (SOM). It exists to improve the health and well-being of North Carolinians and others we serve and to further the teaching mission of the University of North Carolina SOM. Over the past three years, UNC Health has provided more than $400 million in uncompensated or charity care to the citizens of North Carolina. Our hospitals have received numerous awards and recognition for quality care, patient safety and the overall patient experience. For more information, please visit

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