During his return to Campus, Bob Feezor, M’99, stopped by the Egyptian Building and recalled how he’d taken his Boards in the Baruch Auditorium’s narrow seats. Seeing the school’s new facilities, he said, “makes me want to be a student again.”
For Robert J. Feezor, M’99, serving as the H.M. Lee Lecturer is not only a professional honor.
“It’s the highest personal privilege,” he says.
To explain, Feezor points to three pivotal years. 1999, when he earned his medical degree. 1973, when he was born in West Hospital. And 1964, when his father, Bill Feezor, became the 40th kidney transplant patient of H.M. Lee, M.D., H’61, and David Hume, M.D., the pioneering surgeons for whom the Hume-Lee Transplant Center is named.
When Feezor was invited to serve as the H. M. Lee Lecturer, it was a special moment. “I’m not an overly emotional person, but when I heard from [vascular surgery chair] Mark Levy,” he pauses for the right word, “it means a lot.”
H. M. Lee, M.D., H’61, was an internationally renowned pioneer in organ transplantation and a former professor and chairman in the Division of Vascular and Transplant Surgery.
As a second-year medical student, he had the chance to meet Lee. Feezor was doing an elective on the ethics of organ transplantation and asked to speak with the surgeon, who not only gave him his perspective on the topic, but remembered the elder Feezor. “He described him to a T,” said Feezor, who recalls that Lee even pulled out old records on his father that had Lee’s penciled-in notes filling the margins.
“I was so impressed that this very famous surgeon would make the time for a young medical student,” said Feezor. “It was the first time I’d seen you could be very accomplished and also humanistic. What I saw in Dr. Lee and other faculty members solidified my decision to go into academic medicine.”
Feezor’s father went on to become one of Lee and Hume’s longest-living kidney recipients, and his life would be entwined with MCV in big ways and small. From 1967-1976, he worked at MCV as a hospital administrator, a stint that sadly included being the administrator on duty when word came in that the private plane Hume was flying had crashed in California. “It was the hardest day of my life,” Bill Feezor told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The Class of 1999’s Feezor Is now an assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville. He also serves as program director for the fellowship program in vascular surgery. He’s passionate about teaching students and residents. He’s good at it, too – in 2005, he was awarded the national Resident Award for Exemplary Teaching by the American College of Surgeons.
Those teaching skills were on display at the Lee Lecture when Feezor chose as his topic the current management of type B aortic dissections. The clinical issue spurred a lively discussion at the end of his presentation.
Following his death in 2013, Hyung Mo “H.M.” Lee’s family, friends and colleagues made gifts in his memory to create the memorial lecture that bears his name. The focus of the annual lecture alternates between the Divisions of Transplant Surgery and Vascular Surgery.
The elder Feezor passed away in 2006, and this week marks nine years since his death – 42 years after his life-saving transplant.