Awards : Hall of Fame Award

John Clarkson, M.D. ’68

John G. Clarkson, M.D. ’68, dean emeritus and professor of ophthalmology, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, was director of UM’s nationally acclaimed Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology before becoming dean in November 1995. Dr. Clarkson is also the Executive Director of the Board of Ophthalmology. During his tenure as dean he recruited significant research and academic talent to the University and presided over hefty annual growth in the research enterprise. He transformed the medical campus, creating the Schoninger Research Quadrangle and guiding the completion of the Batchelor Children’s Research Institute and the Lois Pope LIFE Center for neuroscience research. Construction of a clinical research building and wellness center was recently completed, and the School is moving forward on development of a multispecialty practice building and hospital, and a laboratory building.

Dr. Clarkson led the planning, development and implementation of the School’s largest capital campaign ever, highlighted by last December’s announcement of a historic $100 million gift from the family of the late Miami developer Leonard M. Miller. The medical school was named in Miller’s honor. In addition to Bascom Palmer, internationally known centers of excellence that have grown significantly under Clarkson’s leadership include the Diabetes Research Institute, the UM/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and the Center for Research in Medical Education. In recent years he directed the creation of the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Center for Medical Genetics and the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital Center for Patient Safety.

The faculty medical practice, University of Miami Medical Group, became a consolidated, competitive clinical operation under the dean’s leadership, with new focus on improved access and customer service. Clarkson was also been responsible for strengthening the School’s critical relationship with its primary hospital partner, Jackson Memorial, which provides world-class care to all who need it in Miami-Dade County. He serves as a member of the county’s Public Health Trust, which governs Jackson.

Dr. Clarkson worked in many other ways to raise the School’s profile as a community partner, as a leader of the Mayor’s Healthcare Task Force and several community boards. Clarkson also presided over the redesign of the medical curriculum, a growing emphasis on the recruitment of out-of-state medical students to raise the School’s national stature, and the new partnership with Florida Atlantic University. Through that partnership, a group of UM medical students is taking the first two years of classes at FAU’s Boca Raton campus.

A graduate of Princeton University, Dr. Clarkson earned his medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1968. He completed his internship training at University Hospital in Boston and returned to the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center for residency training in ophthalmology. He also completed fellowship training at Johns Hopkins University in both ophthalmic pathology and retinal and vitreous surgery.

Originally from Grove City, Pennsylvania, Dr. Clarkson moved to West Palm Beach in 1954. He and his wife, the former Diana Teasdale, both graduated from Palm Beach High School.