When I started my fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1980, Dr. Freireich headed the Department of Developmental Therapeutics.

In the departmental clinical research meetings, the fellows were sitting in the back and observed Dr. Freireich leading the meeting expecting accurate presentation and criticizing the most senior faculty, if needed.

People argued loudly in disagreement, only to be friendly to each other once the meeting was over. I learned soon that for J Freireich, scientific accuracy and knowledge were more important than seniority.

He never let any one of us get away with sloppy, inaccurate presentation.

Over the years I have learned about his multiple scientific accomplishments that significantly impacted the life of cancer patients. I was duly impressed. However, I was much more impressed with his personality as a leader.