Marshall University announces Dr. Charles McKown as Dean Emeritus

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Dr. Charles McKown

The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is proud to announce Charles H. McKown Jr., M.D., has been named dean emeritus in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of radiology and his exemplary leadership during his long-standing tenure as dean of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

At Marshall University, the designation of dean emeritus is a distinguished honor reserved for individuals whose service to the institution has been deemed of extraordinary merit.

During his nearly 23-year tenure as dean from 1989 to 2011, McKown’s leadership brought tremendous growth to the medical school and forever changed the health care landscape in the Tri-State region. Beginning in 1998 and the decade that followed, the School of Medicine saw the completion of five new clinical, educational and research buildings with an investment of more than $120 million, including the Marshall University Medical Center, Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center, Erma Ora Byrd Clinical Center and Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center. The new facilities not only enabled the school to address emerging educational requirements but also accommodated a growing faculty and dedicated clinical skills lab.

A board-certified physician in diagnostic radiology and radiation oncology, McKown was instrumental in bringing translational research to the medical school. In 2011, the school dedicated 10,000 square feet of research space, naming it the Charles H. McKown, M.D., Translational Genomic Research Institute, in his honor. In the midst of strategic growth, McKown cultivated donors like Joan C. Edwards whose generosity would make a profound difference in the future of the school. Ultimately, the philanthropic support of the Edwards family would result in the renaming of the medical school in 2000.

“We are privileged to bestow Dr. McKown with the title of dean emeritus,” said David Gozal, M.D., M.B.A., Ph.D. (Hon), vice president of health affairs and dean of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “He is a distinguished physician and leader whose impact on our institution over the past four decades has been immeasurable. Dr. McKown’s leadership catalyzed the development of first-rate clinical, educational and research programs as well as the growth of the school’s partner teaching hospitals and set a standard of excellence for all of us to follow.”

McKown, a Wayne County, West Virginia, native, earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. He initially trained in radiology at the Medical College of Virginia/McGuire Veterans Administration Hospital, followed by the completion of his training and additional research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. A former captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, McKown went on to serve in the U.S. Public Health Service. After nearly a decade of medical training, his career led him back to West Virginia.

He chaired the department of radiology as well as the admissions committee at Marshall’s medical school from 1976 to 1988 until his appointment as vice president of health sciences and dean in 1989. After completing one of the longest medical school deanships on record, McKown transitioned into the role of vice president of health sciences advancement, which he held from 2011 to 2023.

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About the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine

The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is a community-based medical school established in 1977. Located in Huntington, West Virginia, the School of Medicine trains physicians, scientists and other professionals to meet the unique health care needs of rural and underserved communities. Learn more at jcesom.marshall.edu.

Media Contact

Michele McKnight
Asst. Director of External Affairs
Marshall Health/ SOM

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