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Kevin J. Foyle, MBA, CFRE
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President's Scholars Awards Honor Three Outstanding Faculty

Herbert DuPont, MD, Frank Arnett, Jr, MD, and Cheves McCord Smythe, MD, were honored on May 20 at the President's Scholar Awards. DuPont and Arnett received awards for Excellence in Research and Smythe received the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Herbert DuPont, MD, Frank Arnett, Jr, MD, and Cheves McCord Smythe, MD, were honored on May 20 at the President's Scholar Awards. DuPont and Arnett received awards for Excellence in Research and Smythe received the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Drs. Cheves Smythe, Herbert DuPont and Frank Arnett have devoted a combined two centuries' worth of instruction to UT Health Science Center at Houston schools. The three were honored on May 20 at the President's Scholars Awards for excellence in teaching and research.

The first President's Scholar Award for Excellence was given in 1993. Each award carries with it the honorary title of President's Scholar and includes a $5,000 cash prize. Awards are customarily presented each year to two faculty members, one for excellence in research and one for excellence in teaching.

Excellence in Research

Selection criteria for the research honorees are research quality and importance, productivity and peer recognition. This year, two research awards were presented.

The research scholars are Frank Arnett, Jr, MD, and Herbert DuPont, MD.

Arnett is professor of internal medicine and pathology and laboratory medicine, who holds the Elizabeth Bidgood Chair in Rheumatology. He received his rheumatology training at Johns Hopkins University and came to UT Health Science Center at Houston in 1984 to become professor of medicine and director of the Division of Rheumatology - a position he held until he became chair of the Department of Internal Medicine from 2001-04. He is internationally known as a clinician, teacher and clinical investigator.

In 2006, he led the effort to successfully compete for one of the first 12 Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) funded by the NIH/NCRR - and served as the first principal investigator and executive director of this comprehensive program.

"I am very appreciative of The University of Texas. I think this is a wonderful university with many opportunities to really 'do your thing.' They gave me the opportunity and I will forever be grateful," Arnett said, upon receiving the award presented by UT Health Science Center at Houston President Larry R. Kaiser, MD.

This is the second time Arnett has received the President's Scholars Award. The first was for Excellence in Teaching.

DuPont is director for the Center for Infectious Diseases, professor of epidemiology in The UT School of Public Health and clinical professor of medicine at UT Medical School, who holds the Mary W. Kelsey Chair of Medical Sciences and the Irving Schweppe, Jr, MD, Chair in Internal Medicine. DuPont also serves as chief of Internal Medicine Service for St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital and vice chairman of the Department of Medicine for The Baylor College of Medicine.

DuPont and his colleagues are currently investigating the pathogenesis and epidemiology of diarrhea caused by definable enteric pathogens; studying the host genetics and susceptibility to travelers' diarrhea and post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS) with a focus on inflammatory cytokine polymorphisms. He is conducting clinical trials with novel compounds to prevent and treat travelers' diarrhea and working with new vaccines to prevent bacterial and viral diarrhea.

DuPont thanked fellow award winner Smythe for helping to recruit him to the health science center 36 years ago. 

"In accepting this award, I want to indicate how pleased I am to receive recognition with colleagues Cheves Smythe and Frank Arnett. I respect and admire both of these academic colleagues very much," DuPont said.

Excellence in Teaching

Selection criteria for the teaching honoree are published works in teaching, enthusiasm, innovation, teaching-related mentoring activities, peer and student recognition.

Cheves McCord Smythe, MD, received the President's Scholar Award for excellence in teaching. Smythe is professor of general internal medicine for The UT Medical School at Houston and founding dean of the Medical School. He has long-standing commitment to the fields of geriatrics and education and exemplary standards of leadership. Smythe was educated at Yale and graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1947. He trained in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and at Bellevue and Presbyterian Hospitals in New York.

Asked to organize The University of Texas Medical School at Houston in 1970, he has served on that faculty ever since, with three leaves of absence.

He has been recognized as a devoted and appreciated teacher of clinical medicine. His current efforts are to participate in and strengthen the medical teaching at LBJ Hospital and to assist in the development of a program in geriatric medicine.

To recognize Smythe as the first dean of The University of Texas Medical School from 1970-75, "The Cheves Smythe Distinguished Lecture," was endowed in his honor.

In accepting his award for teaching, Smythe credited his students with keeping him intellectually stimulated and challenged over his 40 years of teaching at UT Medical School at Houston.

"With every group of new medical students that comes in, I begin by saying to them, 'you are not just third-year medical students. You are the most important people here because if you weren't here, none of the rest of us would be here. And the school exists with the fundamental purpose of your education and training.' I think that's important to get across," Smythe said.

"It's been an extraordinary privilege over the years to have been exposed to a whole array of very bright and gifted young people and I'm indebted to all of them."