Davidson College Reunion Weekend

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April 29, 2000

Distinguished Alumnus Award winner Jack Crumbley '70 flanked by President Vagt and Alumni Association President Andy McElwee.

When he enrolled at Davidson in 1966, just a year before Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant in Capetown, South Africa, Jack Crumbley fully intended to become a physician. His father, a surgeon who had served in the U.S. Army's first MASH unit, and Olin Puckett, as fine a teacher as he would ever know, encouraged, cajoled, and challenged him at every turn, setting a course marked with achievement and distinction.

Phi Beta Kappa, Scabbard & Blade, and Alpha Epsilon Delta at Davidson, Jack earned his M.D. at Washington University in St. Louis and subsequently trained at Duke and the University of Minnesota. He served in the U.S. Army from 1976-1979, commanding the U.S. Health Clinic at Garmisch, West Germany, for two of those years. In 1983, he became Chief Resident in Surgery at the University of Minnesota, a nationally recognized center for organ transplantation. From 1984 through 1986, a time when cyclosporine A and triple drug immunosuppression enabled cardio transplantation to evolve from experimental procedure to standard therapy, Jack continued his work at Minnesota as a fellow in cardiovascular & thorasic surgery. It was here that he participated in his first heart transplant, drawing the attention of the Medical University of South Carolina.

On June 30, 1987, after months of training his new team of surgeons, cardiologists, pathologists, immunologists, and specialized nurses, Jack Crumbley performed the first heart transplant in South Carolina, saving the life of a twelve-year old boy from Edisto Island. In his first year, the Medical University of South Carolina Cardio Transplant team would perform seven procedures. By April 2000, the number had grown to 212. The results are impressive: 91% survival at one year; 88% at two years; 82% at four years; 76% at six years; 73% at eight years; and 57% at ten years. Today MUSC has a cardiac transplantation program as effective as any in the Southeast. Jack Crumbley continues as its first and only director.

Because you have faithfully tended to the medical needs of South Carolinians and extended the lives of so many; because you have generously shared your extraordinary expertise with hundreds of students; because you are a respected voice in the national debate over federal mandates and allocation of transplantation; and because you are a leader in your field, a pioneer in your adopted state, and a favorite son of Davidson College, the Alumni Association honors you, Arthur Jackson Crumbley III, with the Distinguished Alumnus Award on the occasion of the Class of 1970's Thirtieth Reunion, April 29, 2000.

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