Hugh C. Smith, D.Sc., May 16, 2008

Hugh C. Smith
B.Sc.(Med.), M.D.(Man.)

Today, we honour Dr. Hugh C. Smith, a distinguished alumnus of the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Medicine, recognized throughout North America for his dedication to patient care and service, his professional leadership and his academic achievements.

Dr. Smith graduated from the Manitoba Medical School with Bachelor of Science and Medical Doctor degrees. He received his internal medicine training at the University of Manitoba and completed his cardiovascular research and clinical training at the University of Washington and the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine.

He had a distinguished career as a student at the Faculty of Medicine, receiving numerous awards, most notably, the University Gold Medal in 1965, in addition to The Faculty Of Medicine Bronze Medal in 1964; the Chown Prize For Highest Standing in Surgery Ill & IV in 1965; the Dr. Charlotte W. Ross Memorial Prize and Gold Medal In Obstetrics in 1965; the Dr. Gerald M. Olin Memorial Prize and Bronze Medal In Pediatrics in 1965. Since then, his career has proceeded from strength to strength.

Dr. Smith is a professor of Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He has pursued research interests in clinical and interventional cardiology, knowledge management and clinical decision making at Mayo Clinic.

He is an institution leader in his 35-year career at Mayo Clinic. His past leadership roles have included; director of the cardiac laboratory; chair of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases; chair of the Mayo Clinic Rochester Board of Governors (CEO) from 1999 to 2005; vice president of Mayo Foundation, and member of Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees. He has served as medical director of Mayo Medical Services, Inc. Mayo Clinic’s health plan and contracting department. He is a founding member of the Mayo Health System Mayo Clinic’s regional system of clinics and hospitals in 64 communities in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. As CEO of Mayo Clinic Rochester and Mayo Health System, he directed more than 2,000 physicians and 30,000 employees. He established Mayo Clinic’s first international practice site, the Mayo Cardiology Clinic in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and has been recognized as a cardiologist who led the Mayo Clinic to excel in the burgeoning fields of genomics, bioinformatics and biotechnology.

He is a founding board member of two Minnesota organizations that focus on multi-system health care, quality and safety: the Institute of Clinical Systems Integration (ICSI) and Safest in America, involving 10 Twin Cities and Rochester hospital systems. He has served on leadership groups of the American College of Cardiology and state and national American HeartAssociation. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Hormel Foods and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the Rochester Area Foundation Board and the University of Manitoba Development Board.

In an interview in 1999, Dr. Smith noted he has good memories of The University of Manitoba, especially his medical education. He explained: “It was not until I could compare my training with Ivy-League-trained contemporaries, in highly competitive residency programs at the University of Washington and at Mayo Clinic, that I fully appreciated how well I had been prepared during my years at The University of Manitoba. Manitoba Medical School professors were particularly stimulating and challenging, and outstanding role models for me. In particular, I recall that Drs. Joseph Doupe, Rueben Cherniak, Ted Cuddy, Arnold Naimark and Lyonel Israels significantly influenced my subsequent career.” Dr. Smith will be returning in September to address the University as the Faculty of Medicine, 2008 Distinguished Joe Doupe Memorial Lecturer. He continues to have a strong connection to Winnipeg and has a family coffage in the Lake of the Woods.

Dr. Smith has published more than 120 papers and an equal number of review articles, visiting professorship lectures, text chapters and editorial commentaries. As an outstanding member of the academic community and a University of Manitoba graduate, he is a most worthy recipient of this degree.

Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour and privilege to ask in the name of the Senate of the University of Manitoba, that you confer upon Dr. Hugh C. Smith, the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.

- citation delivered by mentor, Dr. Dean Sandham, Dean, Faculty of Medicine



Hugh C. Smith