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Building on basics

Peter McCuen, business leader, visionary, philan-thropist

Peter F. McCuen, an entrepreneur and philanthropist who chaired the UC Davis Cancer Center's Executive Board of Advisors, died of cancer Nov. 15, 1999 at his Sacramento home. He was 64.

McCuen's long battle with cancer motivated him to help raise awareness of the disease and to found and chair the Executive Board of Advisors when the group was created two years ago.

McCuen has been credited with helping to change the economic landscape of Sacramento.

"Peter saw great opportunity for this region in the research program of the UC Davis Cancer Center. He wanted to be remembered for his role as the founding member of their Executive Board of Advisors," offered Thomas Hobday, a close friend and assistant dean of Health Sciences Advancement and Public Affairs at the UC Davis Medical Center. "Always looking forward, Peter helped to develop the vision for the cancer center of becoming one of the premier cancer research programs in the United States."

"He was incredibly unassuming for a man of such intelligence and vision, and while he was here for only a short time, he made a huge impact," added Ralph deVere White, M.D., director of the UC Davis Cancer Center.

A native of Bakersfield, McCuen attended Stanford University on an Eagle Scout scholarship, graduating at the top of his engineering class. He went on to earn a master's degree and a Ph.D. at Stanford, taking a faculty position in 1960.

In 1964, he left to pursue high-tech business interests. He was most well known for developing Verbatim into the world's largest manufacturer of flexible discs.

He came to Sacramento in 1980, where he became quickly involved in local politics, philanthropy and business.

As a developer, McCuen built more than 100 office buildings. He played a key role in attracting Sprint and Intel to Sacramento. He pioneered the Highway 50 office-park corridor near Mather Field and was instrumental in the building of two prominent Sacramento buildings, the U.S. Bank Plaza and the Money Store's ziggurat on the Sacramento River.

Besides the cancer center, he also served on the boards of the School of Engineering and Graduate School of Management at UC Davis.

He leaves a wife, Susan Peters; his mother, Hazel Kelly McCuen of Bakersfield; a daughter, Pamela McCuen Rittner of Boston; a son, Patrick McCuen of Sacramento; a brother, a sister, and two grandchildren.

The family has asked that donations be made to the UC Davis Cancer Center 4501 X Street Sacramento 95817 or a charity of the donor's choice. Since November, the Peter McCuen Memorial Fund has raised more than $10,000. Proceeds will benefit cancer research at UC Davis.


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