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Marquette University Alumni Association

George  J. Magovern, Sr. M.D., Med '47

Dr. George J. Magovern, Sr., Med '47

Alumni Merit Award
(For Professional Achievement)

All-University Award Recipients

Alumni Merit Award (For Professional Achievement)

Dr. George J. Magovern, Sr., Med '47

Dr. George Magovern's favorite quote is, "Don't look back — they may be catching you." But chances are it'll be quite some time before someone else matches the number of contributions he has made to thoracic and cardiovascular medicine.

George performed the first successful heart valve replacement in Pennsylvania. He developed a sutureless heart valve that reduced the time needed for heart-valve replacement and lowered the mortality rate. And performed the world's second lung transplant. He also developed a high-volume, low-pressure endotracheal tube called the Lanz Device. Pioneered the clinical use of small centrifugal pumps as left/right ventricular assist devices. Performed the nation's first cardiomyoplasty procedure, in which back muscle is wrapped around an ailing heart and trained to beat. And developed a prototype nuclear-powered artificial heart and nuclear-powered pacemaker.

But, wait, there's more.

George also has spent close to 30 years teaching medical students, surgical residents and fellows. He directed the Allegheny (Pa.) General Hospital thoracic surgery residency program and was chairman of the hospital's department of surgery for more than 25 years, retiring from the post in 1995. And he has written more than 200 scientific articles while serving on the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and as president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

See anyone looming in the rearview mirror? Didn't think so.

Marquette inspired George to excel via a particularly memorable lesson. "We started with 110 class members at Marquette, but there was room for only 83 members by junior year," he says. "You learned to succeed as a member of the class — or you were dropped from the class."