2015 Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumni

Recognition for outstanding service to the medical profession and humankind.

For a list of all Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumni Recipients click here.


 The 2015 Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumni were honored and recognized at a special ceremony and reception at Levin Hall on Friday, May 29. Pictured, from left, Dr. Melinda Estes, Dr. Daniel Beauchamp, Dr. Sharon Raimer, Dr. Michael Attas and Dr. Jeffrey Lanier.  Not pictured, Dr. Earl Singleton.


AttasMichael Attas III, M.Div., Md, FACC – Class of 1973

After graduating from UTMB in 1973, Dr. Attas completed extensive training in internal medicine, cardiology and pediatric cardiology at the University of Kentucky Medical School and has served as a clinical associate professor at the University of Wyoming College of Human Medicine and Family Practice, the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver, the Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas A&M University Health Science Center in Round Rock and Baylor College of Medicine University in Waco, Texas. He is credited with establishing and directing the first national undergraduate program in medical humanities at Baylor in 1999. In his efforts to grow the program, Dr. Attas was successful in securing scholarship funding from the Debakey Foundation for outstanding medical humanities students. An author, a bi-vocational Episcopalian priest and an avid fly-fisherman, Dr. Attas continues to teach and practice medicine in Waco, but is planning to retire this summer and become a part-time fly fishing guide on the Frying Pan River in Colorado.


BeauchampRobert Daniel Beauchamp, MD, FACS – Class of 1982

Dr. Beauchamp completed his surgical medical training at UTMB under many esteemed faculty members including Dr. James C. Thompson and Dr. Courtney M. Townsend, Jr. He then went on to do a fellowship at the Vanderbilt University Department of Cell Biology in Nashville, Tennessee before coming back to UTMB in 1989 to serve as an assistant professor in the department of surgery. He returned to Vanderbilt in 1994 to teach and was eventually tapped to lead the newly created Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery in 1997. In 2001 he was appointed the J.C. Foshee Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences where he currently oversees eight departments of surgery and 240 faculty members. In addition to his many outstanding awards and leadership roles, Dr. Beauchamp received the Flance-Karl Award for Scientific Achievement from the American Surgical Association this past April.



EstesMelinda L. Estes, MD, MBA – Class of 1978

Board certified in both neurology and neuropathology, Dr. Estes has held several faculty appointments from 1992 to 2011 and has also been very successful serving as president and chief executive officer at numerous health institutions. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Estes restored the financial health and credibility of Fletcher Allen Health Care in Vermont, opened a new hospital and created a significant positive operating margin for the Cleveland Clinic in Naples, Florida and developed the Office of Clinical Effectiveness at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio to oversee quality operations. Currently serving as president and CEO of St. Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, Missouri, Dr. Estes is responsible for 10 hospitals and management of this $1.5 billion health system.



LanierJeffrey D. Lanier, MD, FACS – Class of 1966

After completing medical school and an internship, Dr. Lanier served as a general medical officer in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam and at the Moffett Federal Airfield in Sunnydale, California. He then completed a residency in ophthalmology at UTMB before continuing his formal training and a fellowship in corneal and external disease at the Proctor Foundation at the University of California at San Francisco. Dr. Lanier returned to Houston in 1973 and joined the Houston Eye Associates where he has enjoyed practicing medicine for more than 40 years and has been elected president of the organization for the past 15 years. He is a recognized expert in corneal and external disease and corneal surgery, has made more than 200 clinical presentations and has mentored 25 fellows during his career.



RaimerSharon S. Raimer, MD – Class of 1972

Dr. Raimer completed an internship at the University of Utah in 1973 and a dermatology residency at Baylor College of Medicine in 1976 before returning to Galveston to join the faculty of UTMB where she currently serves as professor and chair in the department of Dermatology. In addition to her service on national committees including two appointments with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Raimer has been recognized as a Houstonian Top Doctor, a Texas Monthly magazine Super Doctor and named one of the Best Doctors in America. An active contributor to the Galveston community, Dr. Raimer is a frequent volunteer with the St. Vincent’s House and the Luke Society and has participated in numerous medical mission trips in several countries.



SingletonEarl F. Singleton, MD, FACS – Class of 1964

In the late 1960s, Dr. Singleton trained in general surgery and otolaryngology / head and neck surgery before serving doing a two-year stint in the U.S. Air Force at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington D.C. He returned to his hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas in 1973 where he started a single specialty group with two colleagues and enjoyed 39 years of practicing general ENT and facial plastic surgery. He retired in 2012. Dr. Singleton has served on several hospital committees and community service boards and was honored with a Distinguished Service Award in 2007 by the Wichita County Medical Society. He has been very active in his support of UTMB through his many years of service on the Development Board and the School of Medicine Alumni Association Board of Trustees.

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