WASHINGTON (July 31, 2013) – Leonard Akman, M.D. ’43, was a physician who put his patients first and an alumnus with a deep well of gratitude for his alma mater. In June, Akman’s friends, family, and GW faculty and staff gathered to remember him for his generosity and to discuss the concepts that he believed would be important for GW’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), including partnerships with major global research organizations, such as the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.
As a pioneer in heart transplantation, cardiac catheterization, and cineradiography, Akman focused his attention on the future and worked diligently to bring new modalities to the bedside. He was committed to his patients and, given that he came from an era of house calls, he regularly saw his patients in the middle of the night. As a true humanist, Akman took time get to know those he treated, often putting their needs ahead of his own.
The summer event was hosted by Akman’s cousin, Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of SMHS, Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D., who considered Leonard to be a mentor, friend, and visionary. The gathering and the luncheon provided an ideal opportunity to remember Akman’s life and celebrate the gifts that he bequeathed to SMHS.
During the ceremony, Akman’s cousin and personal representative of his estate, Alvin Akman, presented SMHS with a $3.2 million check to support a variety of initiatives including:
- The Charles and Sonia Akman Professorship in Global Psychiatry – an endowed fund in memory of the parents of Leonard C. Akman, M.D. ’43;
- The Charles and Sonia Akman Fellowships in Global Psychiatry;
- The Leonard C. Akman, M.D. ’43, Global Medicine Scholarships for medical students;
- The Bryan J. Akman Memorial Scholarship for medical student tuition support;
- The Leonard C. Akman, M.D. ’43 Reception Area and the Steven M. Dixon, M.D. ’83, G.M.E. ‘87 Conference Room in the new Clinical Learning and Simulation Skills (CLASS) Center in Ross Hall; and
- The SMHS Dean’s Discovery Fund.
In addition to the gifts given to SMHS, leaders from the Weizmann Institute of Science attended the ceremony and accepted a gift bequeathed for research. As explained at the ceremony, it was the hope of Leonard Akman that SMHS and the Weizmann Institute of Science would develop a relationship that would mutually benefit the faculty and students of both institutions.