Investiture Ceremony Celebrates Five Endowed Chairs
Socially distanced crowd…check.
Guest presenters delivering remarks via pre-recorded videos…check.
Speakers and honorees in masks…check.
The format of the recent investiture ceremony for five named endowed Chairs at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine may have been different, but in no way did it diminish the outpouring of appreciation for the faculty members being honored. Also notable – the fact that five Chairs were being invested together, a historic first for the School of Medicine.
“It’s a great honor – and a great responsibility – to hold an endowed Chair,” said John Daly, MD, Interim Dean and Dean Emeritus at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine. “In addition to providing ongoing financial support for research and education, endowed Chairs are of strategic importance in elevating a school’s academic profile and stature as a national leader in medical education, research and clinical care. Endowed Chairs are also a time-honored way to recognize and celebrate the person for whom the Chair is named. In that way, they help keep our narrative and our history alive.”
Michael Young, President and CEO of Temple University Health System (TUHS), echoed the sentiment, adding, “Investiture ceremonies like this are an opportunity to celebrate what makes Temple great: the simultaneous compilation of clinical excellence, academic achievement, and generous philanthropic support.”
Richard Englert, President of Temple University, and JoAnne Epps, Executive Vice President and Provost of Temple University, also shared congratulatory messages via video.
All five honorees were introduced by close colleagues, each of whom presented compelling portraits of why the honorees were deserving recipients of an endowed Chair.
“His is the phone number we call when we are out of surgical options. He is a stellar interventionist,” said Amy Goldberg, MD, the George S. Peters, MD, and Louise C. Peters Chair in Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine and Surgeon-in-Chief of TUHS, of Gary Cohen, MD, the ceremony’s first honoree.
“There is something to be said for those who work at Temple,” said Dr. Cohen, Chair of Radiology, TUHS Radiologist-in-Chief, and now the new Herbert M. Stauffer Chair in Diagnostic Imaging. “It’s the intimacy of Temple, the family feel, the fact that we are all in this together that gives this place its allure.”
Bennett Lorber, MD, former Section Chief of Infectious Diseases at Temple and the inaugural Thomas M. Durant Chair in Medicine, spoke about the new Thomas M. Durant Chair in Medicine, Thomas Fekete, MD, Chair of Medicine at Temple.
“One of the smartest things I ever did in my professional career was to recruit Tom Fekete to Temple,” Dr. Lorber said. “And one of the great joys of my career has been watching him evolve into one of the finest clinician educator scholars anywhere and to see him admired as a national leader in infectious diseases.”
Like Dr. Cohen, Dr. Fekete spoke of a calling that drew him to Temple more than 35 years ago.
“My journey to Temple began in 1984 when I was invited by Dr. Lorber to have a casual visit and see for myself whether this place and I could be a match. I must tell you that Temple did not look magnificent. The current Rock Pavilion was just a steel shell. The hospital beds were in the old Samaritan Hospital from the 1920s, and the Parkinson Pavilion was showing its age,” he said. “Despite all this, I decided that I would hitch my star to Temple.”
Of Enrique Hernandez, MD, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Karen Houck, MD, Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine and Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Temple, said: “Admittedly, I struggled with how to capture Dr. Hernandez’s 19-year career as Chair. It’s difficult to sum up just how many people have been impacted by his leadership.”
Instead, she asked his former residents to share photos of themselves, and a video montage of various happy scenes played over the sound of Dr. Houck’s voice. “They are a brief representation of not just all the lives he’s touched but all the lives he’ll touch through them,” she said.
“Paraphrasing Isaac Newton, I am here today because I stand on the shoulders of giants,” said Dr. Hernandez, who was named the J. Robert Willson Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology. “I can go on for hours thanking all the people who have made my journey possible. Many are no longer with us. I’ll be remiss if I don’t recognize the incredible faculty and staff, past and present, of our department. They make my work easy.”
Lawrence Kaplan, MD, Associate Dean of Interprofessional Education and Professor of Medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, first met Karen Lin, MD, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of Temple’s Acupuncture Program, in 1998 in a physical diagnosis course at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Cooper Hospital. Dr. Kaplan taught the class, and Dr. Lin was his student. Years later, he jokingly said to her, “When Cooper students grow up, they go to Temple.” In 2002, Dr. Kaplan followed Dr. Lin to Temple.
“My former student is now my boss, and deservedly so,” he said. “Talk about #TempleMade.”
“One of the wellness practices that builds resiliency is gratitude. And I have much to be grateful for today,” Dr. Lin said. “I would like to thank all the amazing faculty, staff, residents, and students I’ve worked with and learned from over the past 20 years here at Temple. Your tireless dedication to our service mission has been truly inspirational.”
Robert Fisher, MD, former Section Chief of Gastroenterology at Temple, described the ceremony’s final honoree, Henry Parkman, MD, Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Medicine and Director of the GI Motility Laboratory at Temple, as a “triple hitter,” in reference to Dr. Parkman’s stature as a clinician, researcher, and educator.
“When I was looking around for academic positions after my training, Temple offered me the best environment to succeed,” said Dr. Parkman, who was named the Stanley H. Lorber Chair in Gastroenterology. “When I got to Temple, Dr. Fisher called me into his office one day. He told me that since the section was primarily clinical-oriented, I needed a clinical area of expertise, and he suggested that I take over the GI Motility Laboratory that he had been in charge of for the last 20 years. I worked primarily with Dr. Fisher for many years. Now, as the Stanley H. Lorber Chair, it’s time to be the mentor that he was to me.”
“I offer my sincere congratulations to each of our five investees,” Dr. Daly concluded. “Their talent, passion and dedication to Temple is truly one of our greatest resources.”