John Clifton McDonald
John Clifton McDonald, M.D.
John Clifton McDonald, M.D., Chancellor Emeritus of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center at Shreveport and Dean Emeritus of the School of Medicine in Shreveport, passed away December 31, 2011 at his home with his wife, Martha, by his side. He was 81 years old.
A memorial service will be held Thursday, January 5th, 2012 at 3pm in the first floor auditorium at LSU Medical School. Visitation will be held Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 from 4 to 7pm at Rose-Neath Marshall Street. The family will also hold a visitation from 2 to 3pm on Thursday, January 5th, 2012 in the first floor auditorium.
Born in Baldwyn, Mississippi, on July 25, 1930, Dr. McDonald never forgot his family's roots in the deep South. Classically educated and an avid reader, Dr. McDonald often said, "Every true Southerner knows William Faulkner."
Dr. McDonald earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from Mississippi College in 1951 and his Medical Degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1955. After earning his medical degree, he interned at Confederate Memorial Medical Center, now LSU Hospital in Shreveport. Before taking his general surgery residency at State University of New York at Buffalo, Dr. McDonald served two years as Flight Surgeon in the U.S. Air Force at McGuire Air Force Base in Trenton, NJ.
In 1968, he came back to Louisiana for a faculty appointment at the Tulane University School of Medicine, where he remained until 1977, when he moved to Shreveport to become Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine. As head of surgery at the academic health center, Dr. McDonald expanded the educational, research and patient care dimensions of the institution. Not only did Dr. McDonald bring organ transplantation to northwest Louisiana, he also established the Regional Burn Center and Level One Trauma Center while head of the Department of Surgery. He integrated the Overton Brooks Veterans Administration Medical Center and the E.A. Conway Hospital into the surgical residency program at LSU in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1989, the Willis-Knighton Medical Center became an affiliated institution and the primary hospital for the transplantation program.
Dr. McDonald considered teaching to be his true calling. For more than fifty years, he taught more than 100 medical residents in general surgery and mentored hundreds of medical students. Even after he became Chancellor, he still met once a week with the surgery residents to review cases. In 2004, his accomplishments were recognized with the establishment of the John C. McDonald, M.D., Endowed Chair in Surgery.
Appointed in November 2000 as the first Shreveport Chancellor of the LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport, Dr. McDonald not only was chief executive officer of the campus but also simultaneously served as the Dean of the School of Medicine in Shreveport. Under his leadership, the LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport embarked upon an unprecedented decade of growth across north and central Louisiana. During his tenure, state leaders coined the term "the Shreveport model" in praise of the excellence of the LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport.
It was under Dr. McDonald's leadership as Chancellor that the LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport expanded to include three professional schools and the LSU Hospital on the Shreveport campus as well as the E.A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe, LA and the Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville, LA.
Dr. McDonald's accomplishments include serving as President of the following organizations; United Network for Organ Sharing, South-Eastern Organ Procurement Foundation, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, Southern Surgical Association, Surgical Association of Louisiana, Halsted Society, and the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency.
His honors included the Roswell Park Medal presented in recognition of his achievements in the art and science of surgery; recognition as one of the Top 10 Leaders of the Century by The Times in Shreveport, LA; and the Shreveport Medical Society Distinguished Service Award. The South-Eastern Organ Procurement Foundation bestowed its lifetime achievement award upon Dr. McDonald in recognition of his major contributions to the field of organ transplantation. The Southern Surgical Association awarded him its highest honor, Honorary Fellow at the annual meeting held in early December. He was a member of numerous medical organizations. He authored more than 200 contributions to the scientific literature during his career.
In addition to excelling in his professional life, John was an excellent husband, father and grandfather. He enjoyed reading, fishing and spending time with his family at Lake Bisteneau. Dr. McDonald was preceded in death by his parents, Ethel Knight and Edgar McDonald, his brother, Edgar Lee McDonald and his sister, Martha Mulrooney. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Martha Dennis McDonald; three daughters, Melissa McDonald of New Orleans,LA; Karen McDonald Lairmore and son-in-law Dr. Terry Lairmore of Belton, TX; and Dr. Martha McDonald Whyte and son-in-law Dr. William Whyte of Minden, LA; five grandchildren, Daniel, Ashley and Sarah Lairmore, and John Hayden and Emma Rose Whyte. He is also survived by a large, loving extended family.
The family would like to extend their appreciation to Jere Bellar, Drs. Seth Berney, Lori Greer and Keith Scott. Special thanks also to Sheila Alexander, Shirley Baldwin, Mary Henderson, Belinda Davis and Alfred Carroll.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made to LSUHS Foundation, designated for the John C. McDonald, M.D. Chair in Surgery, 920 Pierremont Road, Suite 407, Shreveport, LA 71106
Dr. McDonald used a verse from the Bible when speaking to the medical students at the yearly White Coat Ceremony. He told them to always "Seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with thy God."
Published in Shreveport Times from January 3 to January 5, 2012