Dr. Denton A. Cooley, legend in Texas medicine and president and surgeon-in-chief of the Texas Heart Institute, wrote the following in a letter this weekend in the Houston Chronicle:
“The Chronicle’s Oct. 15 article ‘UTMB cutbacks-Isle’s ’06 tempest’ noted that the academic medical center’s leader for almost a decade will step down next summer. As president of the University of Texas Medical Branch since 1997, Dr. John Stobo provided a strong stimulus for academic excellence, research and clinical care.
His tireless efforts have brought nationwide attention and respect to the Medical Branch. Not only did he provide leadership and example to the faculty, he stimulated public support and improved the interest of ex-students in the future of the institution.
Dr. Stobo has been widely recognized for managing economic factors which have threatened the institution. I commend him for and admire his outstanding service.”
While my opinions don’t belong alongside those of the venerable Dr. Cooley, some of you have asked me “What do you think about Dr. Stobo and his resignation.” I think many are surprised when I say “I think it’s the right thing.” Harsh? Not really. If Dr. Stobo believes his stepping down is the best thing for UTMB, I’ll support him in that move. I still believe in him, and still believe that he’s doing what he feels is in the best interest of our university. I think he has a lot to offer us, and a few critical months of work ahead of him on our behalf.
I’ve seen Stobo do many difficult things during his tenure, seen him tackle tough issues head on. I’ve seen him at his best, and seen him stumble on a few occasions (yup, he’s human). It’s been a good ten years for our institution, ten years that have brought me some incredible moments of institutional pride and professional highs, and more recently, some lows. I’d hope—and believe—that in the end Stobo’s legacy will stand above this summer’s strife.
Like others, I’m hesitant about an unknown future, but also curious and intrigued about what’s next, where the next president may take UTMB. Change is change, in and of itself neither good nor bad. But I wouldn’t take my seat beat off just yet; I don’t think this ride’s come to a complete stop.