University of Pittsburgh
June 20, 2018

Sculpture Honoring the Late Thomas E. Starzl to Be Unveiled June 23 on Pitt Campus


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—Thomas E. Starzl, known as the “father of transplantation” for his role in pioneering and advancing organ transplantation from a risky, rare procedure to an accessible surgery, will be memorialized in a sculpture on the University of Pittsburgh campus. Media coverage is welcome at this public event.

WHO: Those present at the statue unveiling will include Starzl’s widow Joy Starzl, sculptor Susan Wagner, former colleagues, Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and other dignitaries from Pitt, UPMC and the community.

WHEN: Saturday, June 23, at approximately 7:15 p.m.

WHERE: The unveiling will take place near a walkway close to the Fifth Avenue entrance of the Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved indoors to the Connolly Ballroom of Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave.

WHY: The bronze sculpture, which took about a year to create, will serve as a permanent tribute from Pitt to the physician and his innovations in surgery and immunology that changed the face of modern medicine.

About Thomas E. Starzl
Thomas E. Starzl joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1981 as professor of surgery and led the team of surgeons who performed Pittsburgh’s first liver transplant. Thirty liver transplants were performed that year, launching the liver transplant program — the only one in the nation at the time.

Until he retired from clinical and surgical service in 1991, Starzl served as chief of transplantation services at what was then named Presbyterian University Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Pittsburgh, overseeing the largest and busiest transplant program in the world. He was director of the University of Pittsburgh Transplantation Institute, which was renamed the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute in 1996. Since 1996, Starzl held the titles of Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and director emeritus of UPMC’s Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. He died on March 4, 2017, at his home in Pittsburgh.

More information is available at the official Thomas E. Starzl website.