November 14, 2011

Thomas Lawley to step down as School of Medicine dean next year

Thomas Lawley

Thomas Lawley announced that he intends to step down as dean of the School of Medicine effective Aug. 31, 2012. Following a year of sabbatical, he will return to Emory to resume the life of a faculty member.

Executive Vice President for Health Affairs
S. Wright Caughman shared the news in a Nov. 13 letter to the community:

"Tom's impact on the School of Medicine, the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and Emory University has been profound. Few deans in the country have served as long or been as consequential for their institutions. Currently enjoying the fourth-longest tenure of any of the country's medical school deans, Tom has presided over 15 years of unsurpassed growth in our teaching and research enterprise.

On his watch – which began in September, 1996 – the School of Medicine added more than 1 million square feet of new space, supporting a sponsored research base that has grown five-fold during his tenure and now ranks 15th in the country in NIH funding. The overall size of the faculty doubled, and six new departments were created. The School pioneered an innovative approach to the undergraduate medical curriculum that has attracted interest across the country, headquartered in the transformational new James B. Williams Medical Education Building that opened in 2008.

Tom's service to the medical community has been as constant and significant as his leadership at Emory. As immediate past chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges, he represented an academic medicine community that includes 135 American and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools. His special interests include the important relationship between medical schools and the nation's 62 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, and the growing importance of internationalization in medical education and research.

Here at Emory, Tom began his career as chairman of my own department, dermatology, in 1988, after a previous career as an NIH/NCI senior investigator. In just eight years, he grew the faculty from three to 18 and the department from having no research base to ranking 3rd-highest in NIH funding.

We will take time later in this academic year to pay proper tribute to these and many other achievements. Of equal importance, those of us who have worked closely with Tom for many years know him to be a consummate gentleman, whose equable temperament and collegial instincts have made him a true university citizen and leader.

Provost Earl Lewis and I will soon announce the composition of a committee to guide a national search for Tom's successor. In the meantime, please join us in thanking Tom for his splendid service to Emory – and in supporting him as dean for one more year that promises to be fully as productive and eventful as the previous 15."

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