Richard F. Kempczinski, M.D., '62
To look at Dick Kempczinski's Curriculum Vitae is to view the definition of both medical practice and scholarship. Upon earning his degree from Holy Cross in 1962, he enrolled at Harvard Medical School, graduating with honors in 1967. He completed an internship at University Hospitals in Cleveland, a general surgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and served as a major in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Vietnam.
Following his military service, Dick began teaching surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. At the same time, he began to practice surgery at hospitals in the Denver area. Over the years, Dick has served as director of the Vascular Diagnostic Laboratory of the Veterans Administration Hospital of Denver and chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. He has held visiting professorships at 17 prestigious universities and hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He has received all manner of awards and honors, including the Alpha Omega Alpha and the Guthrie Award for outstanding research in vascular surgery. He has been listed in The Best Doctors in America and has served on the boards and councils of national societies and organizations such as the American Board of Surgery and the American College of Surgeons.
Dick has received millions of dollars in research grants, funding 20 separate studies. And he has published widely, authoring, at last count, over 150 articles and reviews and writing or editing 11 textbooks concerning vascular diagnosis and surgery. Clearly, this is a man who climbed to the pinnacle of his very noble profession even as he made a family, becoming husband to his (late) wife, Ann Marie, and father to their children, Christopher and Catherine.
And yet, there is another reason for honoring Richard Kempczinski. Five years ago, while enjoying the surf of the waters off the Hawaiian coast, Dic k suffered a broken neck, which left him paralyzed from the neck down. In spite of this, he has continued his scholarly research in the field of vascular surgery and today serves as Webmaster for the Vascular Society's Internet homepage.
As his classmates Jim Mulvihill and Howard Angione note in their nominating letter, “Rather than allowing himself to become intellectually and spiritually paralyzed by what many of us would agree could be justifiable anger, Dick has set his mind and solid spirit toward living life to the fullest and continuing his scholarly contributions to the health of us all.”
For his tireless dedication to healing, his intellectual rigor and the inspiration of his example of courage and acceptance, the College of the Holy Cross presents to Richard F. Kempczinski the Sanctae Crucis Award.