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Dr. Roscoe R. Robinson, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs (left), was on hand for the events honoring Dr. Harvey Bender Jr. (right)

Bender's quarter century at VUMC honored

BY: NANCY HUMPHREY

9/27/1996 - Current and former residents and faculty turned out in force last weekend to honor Dr. Harvey W. Bender Jr. for 25 years of outstanding leadership of the Department of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The weekend of events was entitled "The Harvey W. Bender Jr. Symposium Weekend" and was targeted at cardiothoracic and general surgeons and pediatric and adult cardiologists.

"Dr. Bender has spent 25 years of productive time at Vanderbilt, culminating today in this wonderful, deserved program of recognition," said Dr. Roscoe R. Robinson, Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs.

"Harvey Bender has served American surgery, medical education, surgical research, his colleagues and Vanderbilt well," Robinson said. "Through good times and some not so good, he's worked and labored in our vineyard, loyally, honestly, with wisdom, dedication and, above all, friendship and colleagueship. He's an authenticated member of the Vanderbilt family. No one is more deserving of the recognition we share with him today."

Former residents attending the event and presenting scientific presentations included Dr. Charles B. Huddleston, who spoke about "A Decade of Pediatric Thoracic Organ Transplantation at St. Louis Children's Hospital," and former resident and faculty member Dr. James R. Stewart, who spoke on lung volume reduction.

Dr. Walter H. Merrill, professor of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery at VUMC. Merrill and Dr. James A. O'Neill Jr., chairman of the Section of Surgical Sciences, helped organize the weekend.

"We felt it was appropriate to take special notice of Dr. Bender's 25 years of service and to invite former residents and faculty to come back for a scientific symposium and to have a reunion of sorts," Merrill said.

"Dr. Bender has certainly been a pivotal figure in the growth and development of the department over the past 25 years, particularly with the increased activity in children's heart surgery and in the development of the heart and lung transplantation programs. He has also been instrumental in general and thoracic surgical resident education at Vanderbilt over the years. Last but not least, he has held, and continues to hold, important leadership positions here at Vanderbilt and nationally."

A black tie dinner was held in Bender's honor on Friday evening at the Hermitage Hotel. Dr. Thomas P. Graham Jr., Ann and Monroe Carell Family professor of Pediatrics and Director of Pediatric Cardiology, was the after-dinner speaker. His speech was entitled "Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Vanderbilt, 1971-1996: The Bender Era."

Dr. H. William Scott Jr., professor of Surgery, Emeritus, greeted the group on Friday, saying he was "filled with tender words for Harvey Bender."

"Dr. Bender has built a strong department of cardiac surgery and a wide reputation for excellence. May his future be the best."

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