Coming home to the state’s public medical school.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as President of the MCG Alumni Association this year. I have met very bright students who are becoming talented physicians. I have gotten to know dedicated administrators whose one goal professionally is to see MCG advance and its students succeed at the highest levels. Most importantly, I have met devoted alumni who have opened their homes and communities to us.”   -Dr. Sam Richwine, Class of 1977, Immediate Past President, MCG Alumni Association



Reunited… And it Was Awesome

We talked last week about our alums coming home for Alumni Weekend and boy did they.  We had an absolutely phenomenal time this past weekend visiting with this esteemed group who really are great ambassadors for our medical school all across the country.  One alum who likely traveled the farthest to see us was Dr. Alex Russell, a 1964 graduate here for his awesome class reunion, who practices pediatrics in the small rural town of Soldotna, Alaska.  Check out his home base here:, where the temperature is 45-66 degrees Fahrenheit in July!!  Truly terrific.  Alums like Dr. Russell, who had a full-blown class reunion, seemed to have a particularly sensational time here.  It was especially neat that Dr. Cory Bryan, a 2013 graduate who received a scholarship from the Class of 1964, could join in. Dr. Bryan is now an orthopaedic resident at our fine institution.  These kind of terrific reunions also were celebrated by our Classes of 1949, 1954, 1959, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1999, and 2004.

With So Many Distinguished Alums… It’s Tough Picking Who to Honor

One of the traditions of this annual gathering is bestowing a special honor on two of our graduates. The great news is that we have SO many we should honor. The tough news comes in trying to pick who but, as always, we found two great winners this year!  Dr. Dan Hanks, who was here with a great group of his classmates from 1969, was and is absolutely one of those. Dr. Hanks, a retired radiologist from Rome, Ga., is our Distinguished Alumnus for Loyalty. This lifetime member and past President of our Alumni Association has remained a hugely active member of the MCG Foundation for more than a quarter of a century! See what we are talking about?! His tenure with the Foundation has included a term as Chairman of the Board.  His leadership in his field includes a term as President of the Georgia Radiological Society, which, by the way, awards the J. Daniel Hanks Fellowship in Government and Regulatory Affairs each year to a radiology resident in our fair state. This lucky individual gets to go to Washington, D.C., and work with the American College of Radiology on issues before Congress and federal regulatory agencies. Talk about passing it on! Dr. Hanks has played a leadership role in the Medical Association of Georgia and has chaired the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce. The governor even made him an honorary lieutenant colonel in the Georgia Militia for his public service. We are super glad to honor him as well for his service to his medical school.

But It’s Always Clear… How They Honor Us

So check out this alum’s service. He entered the Marine Corp at age 17 during World War II and while still a very young man helped rescue 16 severely wounded British soldiers during the Chinese Spring Offensive in the Korean War. He turned down a job as Chairman of Otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins to undergo airborne training and serve us all in the Vietnam War, including stints as chief of surgery of the 23rd Infantry Division and commanding the 93rd Evacuation Hospital near Saigon.  After finishing up his distinguished military career, Dr. Edmund Krekorian, a 1957 graduate of our school, would have equal success in the civilian world at the University of Colorado School of Medicine as an innovator in skull-based surgery and expert in trauma and malignancies of the head and neck. See why he is our Distinguished Alumnus for Professional Achievement! We just have to say again that our alumni really, really make us proud and we so appreciate their contributions to medicine and to MCG.  Our medical school and our world are just better because of them.

And Why We… Never Get Enough of Them

We also must share a bit about Dr. Joseph E. Greene. This 1949 graduate of our school – can we get an “awesome” here??!! – had a general practice for 50 years in Marshville, North Carolina. Dr. Greene, now 94, and his wife of 68 years, Mara Lee, also managed to have five children: two physicians, one college professor, one cattle farmer, and one general contractor. We understand that Dr. Greene spends most of his days now on his farm feeding deer, fish and cats and tending gardens. We say: Wow. And, by the way, he still wears that awesome skull and crossbones ring that shows he remains proud of his medical school. We are super proud of Dr. Greene as well. Can you imagine how many lives he touched in 50 years?!!

So Glad They Like What They See… In Their School’s Future

We so hope that you are getting the idea that, once again, we could go on and on about so many awesome individuals who we are privileged to call our graduates. We heard so many stories of the great education they received and how it has stood them in good stead throughout their lives. We really wish you all could have been with us because it was also such a remarkable reminder of what you do and how well you do it. And, they were super excited about where we are headed as well, including the new academic home we’ll be occupying this August. The J. Harold Harrison, MD, Educations Commons will be a brick and mortar testament to yet another incredible alum. When Dr. Paul Wallach showed off its intimate learning centers and towering 300-set classrooms to our alums, it was mostly their turn to say: Wow.  If you want to learn more about this beautiful new facility, check out the cover story of the latest edition of our magazine,

So Saying Goodbye is Tough… Albeit Also Inspiring

About the only tradeoff we can think of in having such great alums, is when we must say goodbye. We must thank Chaplain Jeff Flowers for the beautiful service he led to honor the lives and accomplishments of these individuals who have died since our last annual Alumni Weekend. We were honored and renewed to spend time with their families and so proud once again to be their medical school. Their impact on our state and nation is incalculable really. And, so is yours.

And So Is… The Next Generation

It is with great joy that we share with you that this coming week we will say a more finite goodbye to our newest graduates. The Class of 2014, our largest class ever, will put on the beautiful academic colors of MCG medicine, the silver, blue and red, mingled with herbal green, at the Hooding ceremony starting at 2 p.m. this very Thursday at the Bell Auditorium downtown. We are so privileged to have Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges – and former MCG Dean – as our keynote speaker this year. His title is “Precious Gifts.”  Indeed. To our students, we say congratulations and our best to you always. We thank you for choosing us and we are glad that we chose you. And please never be a stranger. Stay connected to us. And, like Dr. Greene, come back to see us until you are at least 94.

Dance the Night Away… And Do Good in the Process

And finally today, let us shift gears back to having fun, maybe learning a few smooth moves on the dance floor, and supporting the incredible volunteer work of our students and faculty in the process! We invite you to check out Salsa Night next Saturday, May 10, at Surreal at Surrey (in the Surrey Center) in support of our Dr. William Salazar’s Latin clinic initiative, a local clinic providing free primary health care services to uninsured patients in our area, see: Dance lessons (a show of hands if you don’t need these) are provided at no additional charge to participants, starting at 8 p.m. and sure enough Salsa starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $8 for students and $10 for the rest of us. You can go ahead and get your tickets here, if you’d like:, and check this out for more updates: It is seriously cool to have so much fun and help out such a worthy effort in the process. The clinic itself is a win-win, helping provide care to folks who need it and providing truly awesome lessons in medicine and life for our students. Thanks so much to students such as Irene Falk and faculty such as Dr. Salazar who make this happen. You really are the best.

Upcoming Events

May 2 – Relay for Life Augusta, Westside High School Track, kickoff @ 6 p.m. You can join the GRU Cancer Center ‘Colorblind’ Team at this event honoring cancer survivors and loved ones lost. For more information, contact Lakeesha Cooks at 706-721-5221 or visit

Through May 4 – Optic Chiasm: The Crossing Over of Art & Science at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art in Atlanta, see, featuring work by MCG Chief Ophthalmic Photographer Mike Stanley and GRU medical illustrators Bill Andrews, William J. Stenstrom, and David J. Mascaro.

May 8 – Hooding Ceremony, 2 p.m., Bell Auditorium, with Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, President of the Association of American Medical Colleges, as guest speaker.  Reception follows at the Old Medical College Building.

May 9 – GRU Graduation, 2 p.m., James Brown Arena, with more than 1,000 students participating. Liz Murray, author of the bestselling memoir, “Breaking Night,” is the guest speaker.

May 22 – Residents as Teachers program, a new required, half-day course for all rising PGY2 residents in MCG core clinical departments with required medical student rotations, including Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Neurology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery, from 1:15-4:30 p.m. in GRU Alumni Center. Lunch will be provided from 12:45-1:15 p.m.  A second class will be offered Wednesday June 4th, at the same time and location. Contact Amy Legg in the GME office, (, for more information.

June 12 – Investiture Ceremony, 5-6:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

Ongoing – The GRU Cancer Center is offering a two-step tobacco cessation service for all Georgia Regents University & Health System students and employees who need help quitting tobacco use. Step 1: Initial Visit and Health Assessment. Make an appointment by calling 706-721-6744 or on-line at (click on “Request Appointment”). Step 2: Tobacco Cessation Classes, one-hour group sessions for six weeks, provide tools and support to help you quit tobacco. Cessation classes are held on the Summerville and Health Sciences campuses. For more information, visit

Have a terrific weekend.