Medical school names research institute in honor of longtime dean McKown

Friday, Sept. 9, 2011

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The new Translational Genomic Research Institute at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine has been named in honor of Dr. Charles H. McKown Jr., who served as the school’s dean for more than 22 years before becoming Marshall’s vice president for health sciences advancement this summer.

The Marshall University Board of Governors cited McKown’s “extraordinary service to the University” in approving the facility’s naming, which Interim Dean Robert C. Nerhood, M.D., announced Thursday at a School of Medicine reunion dinner.

Nerhood said McKown’s contributions to the medical school were many.

“His uncanny ability to almost instantaneously perceive convoluted relationships and unintended consequences of simple or complex actions has ideally suited him to be an eminently successful dean of a community-based medical school in West Virginia,” he said. “I am not at all sure that this talent can again be found.”

Nerhood said the genomic research facility is an outgrowth of McKown’s vision and advocacy.

“Dr. McKown foresaw the importance of the new field of translational research in the area of cancer care,” and then worked with philanthropist Joan Edwards and U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd to turn that vision into reality, he said.

The Charles H. McKown Jr. Translational Genomic Research Institute is located on the top floor of the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center. Completed this summer, it includes more than 10,000 square feet of research space and has advanced scientific equipment including a “next-generation” genetic sequencer.

At the dinner, Nerhood also announced that the medical school has established a scholarship in McKown’s honor.


Contact:  Beverly McCoy, Director of Public Relations, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, 304.691.1713