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Former MUSC president, educator dies
Rawling Pratt-Thomas, M.D., 94, former MUSC president and chairman of
the Department of Pathology, died March 29.
Pratt-Thomas was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England on June 9, 1913.
He was the son of Dorothy Parkin and Harold Pratt.
Dr. Harold Rawling
He was a 1934 graduate of Davidson College and later received an
honorary degree from his alma mater. He earned his doctorate in
medicine from the Medical College of the State of South Carolina in
1938. After serving an internship and residency in pathology at the
Cincinnati General Hospital, Pratt-Thomas joined MUSC’s Pathology
Department, where he remained for 49 years. During this time, he served
as chairman of the department and dean of the School of Medicine, as
well as president of the institution from 1962 - 1964.
Pratt-Thomas established the School of Cytotechnology, which was among
the earliest in the nation devoted to this discipline. He was a Fellow
in the American College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Medical Society
of South Carolina, Alpha Omega Alpha, and was President Emeritus of the
Waring Historical Library.
In addition to his devotion to family, Pratt-Thomas was a gardener and
enjoyed painting, photography and an outdoorsman. He is survived by his
wife, Mary (Polly) Douglas Pratt-Thomas; children and other family.
Memorials may be made to St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 142 Church
Street, Charleston, SC 29401 or The Waring Historical Library, P.O. Box
250403, Charleston, SC 29425.
As a student, I loved P.T.
He was very fair, gracious and understanding as it relates to students’
problems in every way. I was not at MUSC when he served as president,
but when I returned to serve on the Board of Trustees in 1982 he had
already retired and I enjoyed seeing him at MUSC functions. I enjoyed
our talks and recalling many memories. He will be greatly missed.
—Tommy Rowland, M.D., MUSC
Board of Trustees
I had contact with him as a
student, resident and fellow, as well as working on MUSC’s Board of
Trustees. We also collaborated together in writing for the
College of Medicine’s AUCTUS publi-cation. As a professor, he was
outstanding in his field of pathology, both as a educator and mentor.
As president, he demonstrated to be a great leader and was bright
and collegial. MUSC did well under his leadership.
—Conyers O’Bryan, M.D.,
Board of Trustees
P.T. was among the school’s most
outstanding teachers and loved by our medical class. He was a role
model for our fraternities and organizations. I had the
privilege of working with P.T. as a former president of the MUSC Alumni
Association and Board of Trustees, and admired him as a pathologist,
alumnus and faculty member.
—Stanley C. Baker, M.D., Board
My memories of P.T. goes back to my sophomore year in medical school
1957. Throughout the years, he was my teacher, mentor, colleague
and friend. When I returned to MUSC in 1968 to become chairman of
the psychiatry department, he and I had several visits. He was a
source of great comfort to me as a very young department chairman who
was wet behind the ears. His advice was always offered in a caring
and humorous way. When I returned to MUSC to serve as dean of the
medical school I visited with him. I asked him to give me his candid
assessment of how things were going. By then, he had retired. He
was wonderfully forthright in what he thought should be done. I valued
his input. In a way he continued to be my teacher. This gracious
manner continued even in the last several weeks when I would visit him
at Bishop Gadsden. He was a great man. I will miss him.
—Layton T. McCurdy, M.D., Dean
Emeritus, College of Medicine
As Dr. Pratt-Thomas was already
retired when I came to the university, our opportunities for
interaction unfortunately were limited. He was kind enough to
give me a copy of his memoirs. Through this book, I got a glimpse
of a man who traveled far in his life, and was obviously aided on that
path by a keen intellect and a wonderful sense of humor. The
entire university community has lost a loyal friend and leader, and he
will be greatly missed by those who follow in his footsteps.
—Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D.,
I first met P.T. when I was a
sophomore in medical school. He was a superb pathologist,
teacher and interesting lecturer. His legacy will focus on several
successes including acquiring the library collection of the Medical
Society of South Carolina to MUSC’s library and subsequently, the
Waring Historical Library. He also was responsible for the
institution’s purchase of the former Porter Military Academy campus in
1963, which included the land and three buildings—St. Luke’s Chapel,
Waring Historical Library and Colcock Hall which are part of MUSC’s
—W. Curtis Worthington,
Jr., M.D., professor emeritus, director, Waring Library
Friday, April 11, 2008
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