Loss of a legend
Former dean who championed education, diversity passes away
By April Frawley
One of the founding leaders of UF’s College of Medicine, a man known for the significant strides he made in improving medical education and diversity within the college, has passed away at the age of 95. Emanuel Suter, M.D., who joined the UF College of Medicine in its founding year as the first chair of the department of microbiology and who led the college as its second dean, died peacefully in Charlottesville, Va., on Jan. 8.
During his tenure as dean of the college from 1965 to 1972, Suter led the development of what was considered one of the most innovative medical education curriculums of its time. Under his guidance, faculty members from across the entire college all participated in the development of the curriculum, which better integrated the basic scientific concepts students learn in medical school with their clinical training. He also championed diversity and civil rights, developing a recruiting program for minority
students and overseeing the acceptance and graduation of the first African-American students in the College of Medicine.
“He created a Camelot,” said Dr. Parker A. Small Jr., M.D. “He was driven by having some very clear goals, and none of them were personal. He was too committed to trying to improve medical education and improve patient care.”
Suter, from Basel, Switzerland, came to the United States in 1949 and worked in the lab of renowned scientist René Dubos before joining Harvard University. There, he established a program that caught the attention of George Harrell, M.D., the first dean of UF College of Medicine. Harrell recruited Suter to help build the department of microbiology.
After leaving UF in 1972, Suter went on to work for the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Veterans Administration. In 1991, he returned as a resident educational consultant to work closely with the Office of Educational Affairs.
Suter enjoyed his final years at the Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge retirement community in Virginia. He leaves behind three children.