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Donald Seldin

Donald Seldin
The Maestro of Medicine

The inspiring biography of Donald Seldin, the physician, scientist, and academic leader who transformed the ramshackle Southwestern Medical College into a powerhouse of scientific research and patient care.

Series: The University of Texas Health Press

September 2020
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288 pages | 6 x 9 | 26 b&w photos |

No one would have blamed Donald Seldin for running away. When he arrived at Southwestern Medical College in 1951, it was a collection of hastily repurposed military shacks creaking in the wind. On practically day one he became chair of the department of medicine—when the only other full-time professors departed.

By the time he stepped down thirty-six years later, Seldin had transformed a sleepy medical college into the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center—a powerhouse of research and patient care and an anchor of the city of Dallas. Raymond Greenberg, a physician-scholar, tells Seldin's story of perseverance and intellectual triumph. Drawing on interviews with Seldin's trainees and colleagues—and on Seldin's own words—Greenberg chronicles the life of the Brooklyn boy who became one of Texas's foremost citizens and taught decades of men and women to heal. A pioneering nephrologist, Seldin devoted his career to developing the specialty; educating students, residents, and fellows; caring for patients; and nurturing basic research.

Seldin was a wildcatter in the best sense. He declined the comfortable prestige of Harvard and Yale and instead embraced a worthy challenge with an unflagging sense of mission. Graceful and richly detailed, The Maestro of Medicine captures an inspiring life of achievement and service.

  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Welcome to Big D
  • 2. The Nickel Empire
  • 3. Perfect Chemistry
  • 4. War and Peace
  • 5. A New Sheriff in Town
  • 6. Talent Scout
  • 7. Here’s a Dime
  • 8. The Triple Threat
  • 9. Lab Partners
  • 10. The Road to Stockholm
  • 11. A University Worthy of the Department of Medicine
  • 12. A Society Man
  • 13. Go Forth and Prosper
  • 14. Moral Authority
  • 15. Life Partners
  • 16. Joie de Vivre
  • 17. The Final Class
  • Notes
  • Index

A nationally recognized cancer researcher and leader in academic medicine, Dr. Raymond S. Greenberg has served as president of the Medical University of South Carolina and most recently as executive vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Texas System. His research focuses on the role of race and ethnicity in cancer risk and prognosis. He is the author of Medal Winners: How the Vietnam War Launched Nobel Careers and more than 150 scientific publications. He also is the editor of Medical Epidemiology: Population Health and Effective Health Care.


"A splendid biography of a man who became highly influential in medical education...Raymond Greenberg’s biography of Donald Seldin provides much evidence that the term 'maestro' in the book’s subtitle is well-deserved."
Southwestern Historical Quarterly


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This book may also be available on the following library platforms; check with your local library:
3M Cloud Library/bibliotheca