The Politics of Recruiting Dr. R Lee Clark Jr. as the First Permanent Director of The University of Texas MD Anderson Hospital for Cancer Research: Part II: The Process and Politics of Recruiting Lt. Colonel R. Lee Clark Jr. to The University of Texas MD Anderson Hospital

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dr. R. Lee Clark Jr. was a man of bold and extraordinary vision. He was truly a surgical oncology leader of the twentieth century. His leadership had a significant impact on the cancer community nationally and internationally. Historically, it is intriguing that Dr. Clark almost did not become President of the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, since five other candidates were first offered the position and turned it down, and then Clark himself almost withdrew during the search process because of the political stalemate among the UT Regents to select a candidate. The saga began in 1945, when the Acting Director of MD Anderson Hospital for Cancer Research, Dr. Ernst Bertner, pressed the UT Regents to recruit a permanent Director, since he had just been appointed as the first President of the Texas Medical Center. Bertner was a major figure in recruiting Dr. R. Lee Clark, who was then a Lt. Colonel in the Army Air Force. Dr. Clark’s vision for this unique cancer facility was first drafted on Randolph Army Airfield stationary in February 1946. An interesting twist to the story is that Dr. Clark almost did not get the job because of an alternative candidate, and because of the political vicissitudes among the University of Texas Board of Regents. Many of these political barriers were eventually overcome, and Dr. Clark was unanimously approved as the first permanent Director on 13 July 1946, and his leadership over the next 32 years changed the course of history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of surgical oncology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology

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