Golden Apple Awards Ceremony Honors Robert P. Walton
Dr. Walton was born in Guthrie Kentucky in 1905 and educated first in Kentucky at Centenary College and then at Columbia University where he ultimately received his doctorate in chemistry. His research in organic chemistry led him to the important realization that he could do more to help mankind by focusing on medicine and specifically pharmacology. He went to the University of Chicago where he graduated AOA and followed his medical degree with a life of investigation in Pharmacology. He came to MUSC in 1942, and was among the first of the new faculty to receive federal funding for his research. He is one of the few pioneers of our old school that can be labeled scientist, educator and innovator.
Wofford Francis, whose son still works in the Department, wrote in an interview after Dr. Walton's death: "Concerning Dr. Walton, he was a true scientist and excellent teacher. I recall he walked by the lecture room and saw students milling about outside. Inquiring, he found our that the lecturer had phoned in ill. He found out what the lecture topic was about and proceeded to deliver a talk which the students thought was as good as any they had heard."
One sign that a scientist is making a contribution is that others refer to his work. Other first-rate scientists not only built on what Walton had discovered, but even used his original technology in a strain-gage instrument.
Another indication of someone who is prescient in professional work is their ability to anticipate a societal issue. Dr. Walton did extensive research and wote a book in 1938, on the medicinal value of cannabis or marijuana. This research is still referenced in the many issues surrounding this drug.
Jim Richardson, long-time friend and associate, wrote on Dr. Walton: He was a universal man - a quiet and unobtrusive appreciator of the arts, seeing beauty in striving towards greater universal understanding and expression in painting, sculpture, and music.
Upon his death, the leaders of the Medical University wrote: "Dr. Walton's professional efforts were directed toward the advancement of pharmacology, encouragement of research by faculty and students, improvement of teaching methods and the application of scientific theory and methodology to medical practice. Within the profession, and in the community at large, he attracted a wide circle of friends. ... Not only did he make certain that his students were competent to interpret research, understand its methods and significance, assess its findings, and be able to adopt those of value, he taught by precept and example, that a professional person is a lifelong learner."
In recognition of his contributions and passion for research the research building where he worked was named for him in 1982, 20 years after the building was constructed. It is a fitting remembrance of his scholarly contributions here.
Each year the Golden Apple Awards Ceremony is held to acknowledge rising medical students that demonstrate a similar passion for research, teaching and innovation. Dean Reves gave the keynote lecture at the ceremony on December 2, 2009 honoring the Golden Apple Award recipients.
- View a pdf of his presentation
- Watch the Tegrity video of the presentation