William Thurman, M.D., C.M, longtime Provost of UMHS, passed away in his sleep back on February 10, 2018. He was 89. Dr. Thurman is survived by his devoted family: his wife, Gabrielle; daughters Anne, Allison and Stephanie; eight grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews; and sister Katie Allison. He was predeceased by his son, Andrew; a sister, Sara Cutchen; and a brother, H.E. Thurman, Jr.
Dr. Thurman joined the University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts as Provost back in 2007. Dr. Thurman brought a strong medical, academic and administrative background to UMHS. He received his B.S. at the University of North Carolina; his M.P.H. at Tulane University in New Orleans and his M.D.C.M. at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
He specialized in pediatric hematology/oncology and was the chief resident at Tulane. During his long and prestigious career, Dr. Thurman was also chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and president of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. Inc.
Dr. Thurman entered academic medicine at Tulane University as an instructor. Over the year, his other faculty appointments included Emory University; Cornell University School of Medicine, Rockefeller Institute; and the University of Virginia, where he was the Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics. In addition, he was the Dean of Medicine at Tulane University; vice president for medical affairs and provost at the University of Oklahoma, where he was responsible for six health-science schools, including the School of Medicine.
In 1981, Dr. Thurman became the President of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and held the position for 18 years. Research was one of his primary interests. He served on numerous committees at the National Institutes of Health and as an assistant to the Surgeon General of the United States.
In addition to academics, he liked to help children and promote awareness for the many obstacles impaired children face in life. He organized and promoted fundraising events to ensure funds and awareness in the community. He assisted with development and fundraising for the construction of a new campus for The Children’s Center in Bethany, Oklahoma.
He also served as Dean and Chief Academic Officer for Ross University for several years. He was also Dean of the American University of the Caribbean. Dr. Thurman finally became Provost for the University of Medicine and Health Sciences in St. Kitts. He was a devoted academician whose greatest care was always for the students and their success.
Dr. Thurman also worked tirelessly for the American Red Cross, United Way and Children’s Miracle Network. He served as the first physician to hold the office of chairman of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Thurman was a kind, generous man who truly cared about everyone at UMHS, from the students to the staff and faculty. He will be missed by everyone.
Dr. Thurman requested no memorial service or celebration of life as well as no flowers. In his memory, memorials may be made to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 825 N. E. 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK, 73104 to the cardiovascular research program.
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