Pitzer College president to undergo chemotherapy for rare condition

Pitzer College President Melvin Oliver revealed he has been diagnosed with a rare protein condition.

In a campus-wide email sent out September 19 and obtained by the COURIER, Mr. Oliver explained that the disease, AL Amyloidosis, causes malformed proteins produced in the bone marrow to multiply and attack various organs.

“In my case, these Amyloids have attached to the heart and are causing fatigue and shortness of breath,” he wrote.

Mr. Oliver shared the disease had been caught early.

“The prognosis for a quick, full recovery is excellent and I should return to full strength in two to three months,” he wrote.

The disease is relatively rare, with about 4,500 new cases diagnosed each year, according to the Amyloidosis Foundation, and typically affects people aged 50 to 80 years old, with about two-thirds of patients being male. 

This week, Mr. Oliver will be in Santa Barbara, where he will begin a weekly chemotherapy course at the Amyloid Center at Stanford University.

Throughout treatment, Mr. Oliver emphasized he will still conduct regular college meetings and governance through video and audio calls.

Mr. Oliver’s letter focused on a core Pitzer value—community—to keep the college running at its best during his absence.  

“I hope the entire campus—faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni, parents and friends—will work together during these upcoming months for Pitzer’s continued success,” he wrote.

Matthew Bramlett



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