BYU students to run in honor of Rex Lee

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Provo community members take off at the starting line for the Rex Lee run. (BYU Photo)

BYU students and Provo community members will participate in Fun Run, 5K and 10K races on Mar. 11 to honor past president Rex Lee and help raise funds for cancer research.

Rex Lee was the founding dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School from 1971 to 1975 and the 10th president of BYU. He passed away on March 11, 1996.

Director of University Communications Todd Hollingshead said Lee was a partner in the law firm of Sidley and Austin, serving as a solicitor general of the United States before becoming president of BYU.

He received his B.A. degree from BYU and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law school in 1963. Lee served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Bryon R. White during the 1963, according to Hollingshead.

“The Lee administration was active in identifying and tackling strategic issues that affected the university well into the 21st century,” Hollingshead said.

The tradition of the Rex Lee Run began in 1990 before his death under the name “Rex Lee 5K Run for Cancer Research.” The run was sponsored by the BYU Law School for Rex Lee to fundraise money for research.

The run is sponsored by the Simmons Center for Cancer Research with the help of the BYU Cancer Awareness Group.

The BYU Cancer Awareness Group is a student-run club that raises awareness for cancer, assists those dealing with the disease and helps raise money for cancer research.

All funds raised from the race go toward cancer research at the BYU Simmons Center for Cancer Research.

Michael McPherson, chemical engineering student and member of the BYU running club, said running is part of his daily life.

“I’ve always loved to run, and the Rex Lee Run and other fun runs give me the opportunity to compete while helping with good causes,” McPherson said. “There really isn’t a downside.”

Accounting student Noah Jacobs has run in the Homecoming 5K, the Rex Lee 5K and various college races.
 
“Running these races means that I can compete against other individuals and have another chance at improving my time, and it brings the community together,” Jacobs said.

More than $450,000 has been raised for the Cancer Research team at BYU as a result of the race. The research done in the center has resulted in a number of accomplishments and publications in scientific journals.

BYU doctoral cancer research student Michelle Townshend said she gained an appreciation for helping fund this research.
“It’s so encouraging because you know that people believe in you, and it drives you to be better,” Townshend said. “It drives you to come to the lab and do an experiment one more time or do that whole process one more time because people are backing you up, and you know you have that support.”

Rex Lee Run program director and biotechnology student Alex Gosch said this is one of his favorite activities he puts on during the year.

“I love the Rex Lee Run because it’s the most fun you can have while giving to a worthy cause,” Gosch said.

The race will be on March 11 with opening ceremonies at 8:15 a.m. The 10K starts at 9:00 a.m. and the 5K starts at 9:15 a.m. at the Clarence F. Robison Track. The Community Against Cancer Carnival will be held after the race. To find out more information about the race, visit the website.