Dr. James T. “Tate” Thigpen has helped UMMC's cancer programs grow from a seedling in 1973 to an orchard in 2016, the year he chose for retirement.
But John Blessing calls the Picayune native's retirement as professor and director of the Division of Hematology/Oncology a misnomer.
“He is more in demand as a speaker than anybody I know,” said Blessing, executive director of the NRG Oncology Statistical and Data Center at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York
“I doubt that will go away.”
Neither will his legacy: Throughout his 43-year career, Thigpen has improved the lives of cancer patients across Mississippi.
Much of the Picayune native's work has been fueled on two cups per day of Starbucks coffee, always cinnamon dolce latte. Bonita Herring, supervisor of business operations for the division, who also announced her retirement, admits she brings him one most mornings on her way to work.