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The Daniel Drake Medal is the College of Medicine’s most prestigious and highest honor.
The Drake Medal was conceived in 1984 as part of a broad campaign by the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine to celebrate the bicentennial of college founder Daniel Drake’s birth in 1785. Robert Daniels, MD, the college’s dean at the time, declared 1985 “The Year of Daniel Drake,” and the Drake Medal was created to honor living physicians who made major lasting contributions to the college and who have gained national or international reputations in their fields.
The medal was designed by Cyril Kupferberg, then the college’s associate dean for management and finances. Measuring three inches in diameter, the 24-carat gold-plated pendant with festive UC-red ribbon, was first awarded January 30, 1985, to nine eminent college faculty members referred to at the time as “Faculty of Distinction.” They were Charles Aring, MD, Charles Barrett, MD, Benjamin Felson, MD, Helen Glueck, MD, Clifford Grulee, MD, Albert Sabin, MD, Raymond Suskind, MD, Richard Vilter, MD, and Josef Warkany, MD.
No Drake Medal was awarded in 1986, despite its intention as an annual honor, perhaps due to changing leadership in the college (Dr. Daniels left in mid-1986 to become dean at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine). The medal was next presented June 13, 1987, during the college’s annual Honors Day celebration, with Dr. Daniels and Edward Pratt, MD, who had served as UC chair of pediatrics from 1963 to 1979, as recipients. The Drake Dinner, at which medal recipients are celebrated, began in 1987 under the leadership of Acting Dean Kenneth Rowe, MD. In 1988 Dean John Hutton, MD, made the awarding of the Drake
Medal a permanent fixture of the college’s Honors Day. He also established two distinct categories for which the Drake Medal is awarded: one honors recipients for distinguished contributions to medical research while the second lauds those for excellence as a clinician-teacher. Additionally, eligibility for the Drake Medal was broadened to include living College of Medicine alumni from both the MD and PhD programs and residency graduates along with all current faculty.
Nominations for 2024 Daniel Drake Medals will be solicited in fall 2023.
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