December 2, 2005

Symposium honors Vanderbilt benefactor Stahlman

Featured Image

Alexander Lawton, M.D., left, talks with Mildred Stahlman, M.D., during a break in the recent symposium celebrating the Stahlman chairs. At right is James Crowe Jr., M.D., professor of Pediatrics, who discussed his research on immunity in infants.
photo by Dana Johnson

Symposium honors Vanderbilt benefactor Stahlman

Vanderbilt University Medical Center last week celebrated one of its most prominent donors, the late James G. Stahlman, whose legacy includes 10 endowed chairs supporting “amazing intellect” and achievement.

The longtime publisher of the Nashville Banner and member of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust “was arguably the most influential man in the Nashville of his day,” Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Harry Jacobson, M.D. said during the first Stahlman Chairs symposium.

When Stahlman sold the afternoon newspaper in 1972, he used some of the proceeds to establish the first two chairs, named for his parents. Over the years, the initial endowment grew to support 10 chairs, six of which have been filled.

“Through the establishment of now 10 Stahlman chairs, this notable family has brought some amazing intellect to Vanderbilt and to the community that Jimmy Stahlman loved so well,” Jacobson said.

“There's no question that many of (them) would not be members of the Vanderbilt faculty, (or) would be as productive as they've been without this support,” added Steven Gabbe, M.D., dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

The current chair holders, who spoke during the symposium, are:

• Michael Aschner, Ph.D., professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology, and Gray E.B. Stahlman Professor of Neuroscience;

• David Bader, Ph.D., professor of Medicine, and Gladys Parkinson Stahlman Professor of Cardiovascular Research;

• Larry Churchill, Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, and Ann Geddes Stahlman Professor of Medical Ethics;

• Alexander Lawton III, M.D., professor of Pediatrics, and Edward Claiborne Stahlman Professor of Pediatric Physiology and Cell Metabolism;

• Lawrence Marnett, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, and Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research; and

• Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt University Institute for Global Health, and Amos Christie Professor of Global Health.

In concluding remarks, Mildred T. Stahlman, M.D., professor of Pediatrics, said she encouraged her father to make a lasting — and renewing — gift to his beloved university through the endowed chairs.

“I'm sure my father would be enormously pleased,” she said, by the growth and impact of his contribution.

“I learned a lot from my father,” said Stahlman, who helped pioneer the treatment of premature infants. “I learned that knowledge was power … I think perhaps one of the most important ways to use power is to be able to teach and to educate and to transmit information from one generation to another.”