Pioneering Physician, and Oxy Trustee
MITCHELL W. SPELLMAN was founding dean and professor of surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine’s Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School when President Richard C. GIlman invited him to join Occidental’s Board of Trustees in June 1971—becoming the College’s first African-American trustee. But that was only one of many milestones in the career of Spellman, who died Nov. 11, 2013, at age 93. A native of Alexandria, La., he was 12 when his parents enrolled him in the Gilbert Academy in New Orleans, where he was class valedictorian in 1936. He was valedictorian at Dillard University in New Orleans in 1940, and graduated second in his class from Howard University College of Medicine four years later. Influenced by his mentor, Dr. Charles R. Drew, he then began 11 years of post-medical school surgical training that culminated with a Ph.D. in surgery from the University of Minnesota in 1955. Spellman served Oxy as a trustee until 1978, when he resigned his position at UCLA to become dean for medical services at Harvard Medical School. He was Harvard Medical International’s director of academic alliances and exchange programs when he retired in 2005.
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