Press Release

Gillibrand, Snowe, Feinstein Resolution Honoring the Life and Legacy of Evelyn H. Lauder Passes U.S. Senate

Nov 18, 2011

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced today their resolution honoring the life and legacy of Evelyn H. Lauder, a world-renowned champion of breast cancer research and advocate for women’s health, has passed the U.S. Senate. Mrs. Lauder, who passed away this week at the age of 75, helped create the ubiquitous pink ribbon campaign which has increased breast cancer awareness around the globe. 

“We honor a great champion and trailblazer, Evelyn Lauder,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Inspired by her own fight against breast cancer, Mrs. Lauder dedicated her life educating women and spearheading one of the nation’s largest organizations dedicated to research and treatment of this disease. Her commitment to breast cancer prevention will continue to touch the lives of millions around the world. And we must keep up her fight to find a cure in our lifetime. I am proud to have joined my colleagues in passing this resolution in remembrance of Evelyn Lauder’s extraordinary life and legacy.” 

“By increasing breast cancer awareness, funding research, and searching tirelessly for a cure, Evelyn Lauder was a monumental, public service catalyst in the battle against this dreaded disease,” said Senator Snowe.  “Undoubtedly, she was not just a difference-maker in this fight, but the consummate, indispensable game-changer as well.  I could not be more proud to join with my colleagues in remembering Evelyn’s exceptional life and her milestone contributions through this resolution.” 

“Evelyn Lauder’s life mirrors the familiar immigrant story of 20th Century America.  She came to the United States after escaping Nazi Europe and became one of the country’s most generous philanthropists,” Senator Feinstein said. “I am proud to honor this remarkable American woman—a tireless advocate for breast cancer research and awareness, a businesswoman, an accomplished photographer, an author, and a devoted wife, mother and grandmother.” 

For decades, Mrs. Lauder developed successful products as an executive at the Estée Lauder Companies, but she is best known for her global fight against breast cancer. With her commitment to philanthropy and passionate resolve to find a cure for this disease, Mrs. Lauder founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the first comprehensive breast and diagnostic center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, which quickly became the model for facilities around the world. Mrs. Lauder grew up in New York City and attended Hunter College. She is survived by her husband, her two sons, and five grandchildren. 

Breast cancer will impact about one in eight women in the U.S., with millions of women across the country currently living with breast cancer. This year, approximately 40,000 women nationwide are expected to die of the disease.

Full text of the resolution is below: 

Whereas with the passing of Evelyn H. Lauder, the world has lost an energetic and dedicated friend and ally who catapulted to the world stage the quest to prevent and cure breast cancer in this lifetime; 

Whereas Evelyn was born Evelyn Hausner on August 12, 1936, in Vienna, Austria; 

Whereas in 1940, the Hausner family fled Nazi-occupied Austria, eventually settling in the State of New York, where Eveyln was a proud product of the New York City public school system and met her future husband of more than half a century, Leonard Lauder; 

Whereas Evelyn and Leonard wed in July 1959; 

Whereas, Evelyn joined the family cosmetic company, Estée Lauder, handling many roles in the early years and later becoming Senior Corporate Vice President and Head of Fragrance Development Worldwide; 

Whereas Evelyn helped bring global awareness to breast cancer after being diagnosed with early stages of the disease in 1987; 

Whereas in 1989, Evelyn initiated the fundraising drive to establish the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Cancer Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, which opened in 1992 and quickly became the model for similar breast cancer diagnostic centers around the world; 

Whereas the expanded Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Cancer Center opened in 2009 and provides the most up-to-date breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, and outpatient treatment services under 1 roof; 

Whereas in 1992, Evelyn worked with longtime friend Alexandra Penney, former editor-in-chief of SELF magazine, to create the Pink Ribbon Campaign for breast cancer; 

Whereas Evelyn launched the Estée Lauder Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, which has distributed more than 115,000,000 pink ribbons worldwide; 

Whereas in 1993, Evelyn founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, thereby affirming her commitment to preventing breast cancer and finding a cure in this lifetime through funding some of the most innovative clinical and translation research at leading medical centers worldwide; 

Whereas The Breast Center Research Foundation, which to date funds 186 researchers around the world and has raised $350,000,000, has grown to become the largest national organization dedicated exclusively to funding research relating to the causes, treatment and prevention of breast cancer; 

Whereas during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October 2010, Evelyn and the Estée Lauder Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign achieved a first-ever Guinness World Record, “Most Landmarks Illuminated for a Cause in 24 Hours”, by illuminating 38 iconic landmarks, including the Taj Mahal, the Tokyo Tower, the Hotel Majestic, the Empire State Building, and Niagara Falls; 

Whereas in October 2011, the Lauder family was honored with the prestigious Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy for commitment to philanthropic endeavors and public service; 

Whereas Evelyn will be remembered for her vision and leadership in achieving funding for promising scientific research that lead to breakthrough drugs, including Herceptin, a better understanding of how tumors develop and risk factors for recurrence, and an improved quality of life for breast cancer survivors; 

Whereas her work continues to help promising scientists who have equally promising, imaginative, and innovative proposals get research off the ground;

Whereas there is no doubt that we must find a cure, and research is instrumental to achieving this goal;

Whereas this year, nearly 40,000 women of the United States are expected to die of breast cancer; and 

Whereas we must keep up the battle and recruit more heroes like Evelyn if we are to achieve “prevention and a cure in our lifetime”: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate—


(1)   mourns the loss of Evelyn H. Lauder;

(2)   honors the life and accomplishments of Evelyn H. Lauder, a world renowned advocate for breast cancer awareness and health of women; and

(3) offers the deepest condolences to the beloved husband, Leonard, sons, William and Gary, and 5 grandchildren of Evelyn H. Lauder.