On May 3, 2011, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) suffered the loss of one of its most valuable leaders. C. Rolllins Hanlon, MD, FACS, who devoted most of his professional life to the College lost his brave battle with lymphoma at the age of 96.
Dr. Hanlon became a Fellow of the College in 1953 and served as the ACS Director for 17 years (1969 to 1986), making him the longest-serving Director to date. Additionally, he served on the Board of Regents and also as College President (1985-1986). For the last 22 years of his life, he served as Executive Consultant to the College and its Board of Regents.
Dr. Hanlon was the first chair of the department of surgery at St. Louis University and a cardiac surgery pioneer. "Dr. Hanlon was truly a medical giant who put the surgery department and medical school on the map in many ways," said Robert Johnson, MD, chair of the department of surgery, who currently holds the C. Rollins Hanlon Endowed Chair. "One of the things that attracted me to Saint Louis University was the opportunity to come to a place where Dr. Hanlon had been and to hold his chair." 1
John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, was the setting for Dr. Hanlon’s medical education and early surgical training. He was a surgical resident at Cincinnati General Hospital and served in the U.S. Navy during and immediately after World War II on the hospital ship Repose in the China-Burma-India Theater.
He was the recipient of the College's first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and innumerable awards, honors and tributes, which will be found in abundance in many other places.2
He made innumerable valuable contributions to the ACS Archives. A man who was humane, in all senses of the word, and the product of a liberal education, he was a bibliophile and a man of letters.
He was a protector of the history of the American College of Surgeons and champion of the College’s Archives. His wife, Dr. Margaret Hanlon has donated to the College Archives a large collection of his papers so that his legacy will be preserved for many who will undoubtedly want to study his noble life and his immeasurable contributions to the American College of Surgeons.
Indeed, the ACS Archives has lost its best friend.