J. Ward Kennedy-Hamilton Endowed Chair in Cardiology
The J. Ward Kennedy-Hamilton Endowed Chair in Cardiology was established in 2005 to enhance the University of Washington’s ability to attract and retain distinguished faculty in cardiology. The idea for the chair stemmed from a luncheon between the late Glen Hamilton, M.D., and the late J. Ward Kennedy, M.D., in which Dr. Hamilton suggested creating an endowed chair to honor Dr. Kennedy’s legacy. Together, they spearheaded the effort and the name of the endowed chair pays tribute to both of their contributions.
J. Ward Kennedy, M.D., Res. ’62, was a genuine triple threat in academic medicine: a compassionate physician who also excelled at research and teaching. Dr. Kennedy served as the head of cardiology at the VA Medical Center in Seattle from 1967 to 1982 and then as the head of the Division of Cardiology at UW Medicine from 1982 to 1997. During his distinguished tenure, the University of Washington became the first and only institution in the region performing heart transplants. Under his guidance, the Division of Cardiology also made strides in the acute management of heart attacks and mounted some of the first investigations of clot-busting drugs — drugs that now save lives worldwide.
In addition to being a brilliant researcher, Kennedy was a gifted clinician, with strong beliefs about patient care. “One of the problems in modern medicine,” said Kennedy, “is that there are too many layers between the top guy and the patient.” This was never a problem for people under Kennedy’s care.
Former fellow Glen Hamilton, M.D. ’65, Res. ’70, remembered Kennedy’s bedside manner. “Patients loved him, just like the people who worked for him,” he says.
Dr. Hamilton graduated from the UW School of Medicine in 1965, then did an internship and a residency in internal medicine at Yale University Hospital in New Haven, Conn., from 1965–67. While there, he met and married a nurse, Madeline Anne (George) Hamilton. Dr. Hamilton finished his residency at UW Medicine, acting as chief medical resident in 1969–70.
After joining the faculty of the UW School of Medicine in 1970, he became the first chief of nuclear medicine at the Seattle Veterans Administration Hospital. Over the next dozen years, he pioneered the development of nuclear medicine in cardiology, publishing one book and more than 50 scientific articles. To this day, such tests (heart scans) are regularly performed to help in the diagnosis of coronary artery blockages.
In 1979, with Dr. Kennedy’s encouragement, Dr. Hamilton became a stock broker with Foster & Marshall, later joining Ragen Mackenzie, where he became a member of the board of directors and served — for a period in the 1990s — as branch manager. From 1980 until retiring from medicine in 1988, he devoted weekday mornings to the investment business and afternoons to medicine.
Dr. Kennedy passed away in 2008; Dr. Hamilton passed away in 2010.
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