As merit warrants, the Lifetime Achievement Award is presented in recognition of exceptional commitment, loyalty and dedication to the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and to Penn Medicine development and alumni relations programs throughout the awardee’s career. Distinguished recipients are carefully selected by the Office of Alumni Development and Alumni Relations at Penn Medicine and the Nominating Subcommittee of the Medical Alumni Advisory Council.
2012 - Walter J. Gamble, M'57 and Anne C. Gamble
Twenty years ago, Walter and Anne Gamble had a dream - that the School of Medicine could offer its world-class education tuition-free. Their goal was to ease the debt burden of talented students so that they would be free to make a strong social impact through the practice of medicine. The Gambles vision quickly gave rise to the Twenty-First Century Endowed Scholars Fund, which they established with a $10 million gift.
The Gambles have given generously to the Fund throughout the past twenty years. Today their contributions exceed $35 million, and 14 students in each class receive full scholarships because of their support. The couple's enduring ties to Penn Medicine and their love for their students make them special members of the Penn family.
In some ways, their story began in the halls of academic medicine. Although both Walter and Anne graduated from Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, their first date was at Massachusetts General Hospital, where Anne, now a Radcliffe College alumna, was a research assistant and Walter a second year medical student at Penn, home for Christmas vacation. During their years together, Walter became a noted pediatric cardiologist at Harvard Medical School and the Children's Hospital of Boston. Anne worked as a volunteer in Patient Relations at Children's Hospital and sang in the Back Bay Chorale.
Together they raised their three children - and decided to express Walter's loyalty to and pride in his medical alma mater by giving back to Penn Medicine.
The Gambles initially avoided the spotlight after making their first gift supporting financial aid, choosing to remain anonymous donors. But they became increasingly moved by the heartfelt letters they received from scholarship recipients. In 1996, the Gambles emerged from their anonymity at Commencement when the first six Gamble Scholars graduated. The Gambles were inspired by their encounter with their scholarship recipients, and since that time have developed deep and enduring relationships with the Gamble Scholars.
The Gambles' philanthropy has helped foster many careers and, in some lucky cases, has even acted as matchmaker. They have opened their home and their hearts to their students and have been the guests at many of their scholars' weddings, amassing quite a collection of engagement and birth announcements through the years. In turn, their students look to them with gratitude and view them as friends and a second family. The careers of the Gamble scholars, as well as the warm relationships forged through their philanthropy, are a testament to the Gambles' humanity and abiding goal of helping the best students embrace their ideal medical specialty.
The magnitude of Walter and Anne's commitment to Penn isn't measured in dollars alone. They have been just as generous with their time. They are always willing to participate in Penn events and have always taken any opportunity to underscore the need and purpose of scholarship aid at alumni events all across the country.
For their devotion, loyalty, and generosity, we honor Walter and Anne Gamble with the Perelman School of Medicine Lifetime Achievement Award.
2010 - Edward J. Stemmler, M.D.’60
Edward J. Stemmler, M’60, is Dean Emeritus of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. A distinguished teacher, administrator, and national leader in medical education, he is celebrated for his visionary leadership of one of the country’s premier academic medical institutions, and for his leadership on behalf of the nation’s schools of medicine.
Dr. Stemmler graduated from Penn’s School of Medicine and completed an internship and residency in medicine and a fellowship in cardiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the faculty at Penn as an Instructor in Medicine in 1964, and was promoted to the rank of professor in 1974. In 1981, he was named the first Robert G. Dunlop Professor of Medicine.
Innovation and growth, both programmatic and physical, mark the years of Dr. Stemmler's tenure. He led the establishment of the Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania and the clinical educator faculty track, strengthened Penn’s biomedical research programs, and sparked the modernization of academic, research, and clinical facilities. Recognizing the importance of engagement with alumni, he founded Penn Medicine, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s alumni magazine. In recognition of these contributions, one of the main medical education buildings was renamed Edward J. Stemmler Hall in 1991.
In 1990, Dr. Stemmler left Penn to assume the position of Executive Vice President of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), where he retired in 1994.
Throughout his career, Dr. Stemmler has been involved in many professional and community activities, including more than a dozen advisory or consultative committees of schools of medicine. He is past Chairman of the National Board of Medical Examiners, a Treasurer Emeritus and Master of the American College of Physicians, and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Stemmler has received honorary degrees from Ursinus College, La Salle University, Rush University, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, the Medical College of Pennsylvania, the State University of New York at Syracuse, and Georgetown University.
In 1990, he received the Alumni Award of Merit from the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Medicine Distinguished Graduate Award in 2004.
Dr. Stemmler resides in Virginia with his wife Dr. Joan Koster Stemmler. He is currently serving on his 50th Reunion Committee and the governing board of the University of Virginia Health System, where he chairs the Quality Subcommittee. He continues a lifetime of distinguished service.
2008 - John J. Mikuta, C’48, M’48, INT’49, RES’54
Dr. John J. Mikuta is a distinguished physician, world-class medical innovator, loyal alumnus of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and worthy recipient of the inaugural Penn Medicine Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr. Mikuta served as chairman of Penn’s Division of Gynecologic Oncology for 30 years. He is considered one of the founding fathers of gynecologic oncology, for which he helped develop the board certification process. He is the Franklin Payne Professor Emeritus of Gynecologic Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
After earning both his B.A. and M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Mikuta interned at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) from 1948 to 1949 and was a resident in obstetrics and gynecology there from 1951 to 1954. Between his internship and residency, he served in the U.S. Army at Osaka General Hospital and as assistant chief of the medical service at Camp Breckenridge Army Hospital. He was board certified in obstetrics and gynecology in 1957 and in gynecologic oncology 17 years later.
Dr. Mikuta joined the medical staff of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 1951 and was appointed assistant professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1962. He was promoted to full professor in 1972. In addition to his faculty appointments at HUP, Dr. Mikuta has held administrative positions at Philadelphia General Hospital (1951-1970) and Pennsylvania Hospital (honorary staff since 1975).
Dr. Mikuta is a member of many national professional and scientific societies, including the American Association for Advancement of Science, the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society, the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association, the American Radium Society, the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the International Federation of Gynecologic Oncologists. In addition, he has been extremely active as a leader in local professional and scientific societies. These include the Philadelphia Division of the American Cancer Society, the Foundation of the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia, the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Oncologic Association, and the Pennsylvania State Medical Society.
Dr. Mikuta’s numerous awards and honors include the Penn Medicine Alumni Service Award in 1994, the J. Robert Willson Award from the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia, the Jonathan Wainwright Award for Excellence in Cancer Research, and the Robert A. Ross Navy Award. He has also received the St. George Medal, the Distinguished Service Award, and the Humanitarian Award from the American Cancer Society, of which he is also an Honorary Life Member. Former Oncology Fellows honored him with a Festschrift in 1990 and by establishing the honorary John J. Mikuta Society in 1984.
Dr. Mikuta currently serves as chair of the Penn Medicine Class Agent program. He is the class agent for the Medical Class of 1948 and volunteers on their reunion committee. He joined the Medical Alumni Advisory Council (MAAC) in 2007, and previously served as a member of the Medical National Alumni Council, the Penn Medicine Alumni Executive Committee, and the health system board. He is a faithful supporter of medical education at Penn through the John J. Mikuta, M.D., Endowed Scholarship, which he established.
Dr. Mikuta enjoys retirement with his wife, Margaret, and his extended family.