Wake Forest Medical Alumni Recognize Six with 2013 Awards

October 16, 2013

The Medical Alumni Association (MAA) of the Wake Forest School of Medicine has recognized the achievements of five alumni and one staff member with its annual distinguished awards.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Thomas H. Marshburn, M.D., Distinguished Achievement Award
  • Charles S. Turner, M.D., Distinguished Faculty Award 
  • R. Merrill Hunter, M.D., Joel B. Miller, M.D., Allen H. Van Dyke, M.D., and Fred T. Robinette, Distinguished Service Award

Edward Abraham, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, presented the awards during the Dean’s Leadership Circle dinner on Sept. 26.

Marshburn, a 1989 graduate of the medical school, is a NASA astronaut who returned from his most recent space mission in May 2013. The Statesville, N.C., native graduated from Davidson College with a degree in physics in 1982. After working as an emergency room physician, he came to the Johnson Space Center in 1994 as a flight surgeon. In 2004, he was selected by NASA to enter astronaut training, which he completed in February 2006, and his first space mission was aboard the shuttle Endeavor in July 2009.

From December 2012 until May 2013, Marshburn served on a mission aboard the International Space Station, where he and his colleagues performed a series of experiments and an emergency spacewalk to replace a leaking ammonia pump. He now resides in Pearland, Texas.

Turner, a resident of Winston-Salem and a 1970 graduate of the medical school, is professor emeritus of general surgery-pediatrics in the Division of Surgical Services at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He retired in 2012 following a career with the School of Medicine and Brenner Children’s Hospital delivering life-saving surgical care to children. His clinical specialties include pediatric surgery, neonatal surgery, pediatric oncologic surgery and congenital anomalies. He also has served on the boards of Salemtowne Retirement Community and Ronald McDonald House, and has been president of Share-a-Home of Forsyth County.

Hunter, Miller, Robinette and Van Dyke were recognized for guiding the successful MAA Legacy Challenge and Match, a fundraising effort that has raised more than $17 million for the medical school since fall 2011.

Hunter, a 1978 graduate of the medical school, lives in Raleigh, N.C., where he practices cardiothoracic surgery with Carolina Cardiovascular Surgical Associates. The native of Sanford, N.C., has worked with the MAA Board since 2000. He served as the board’s fundraising chairman and secretary before becoming MAA president in 2009-10. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Class of 1978 Scholarship Endowment Fund at the medical school.

Miller, a 1974 graduate of the medical school, is a native of Statesville, N.C. A gynecologist who practices at Catawba Women’s Center, Miller completed his internship and residency in obstetrics/gynecology at Wake Forest Baptist before beginning his practice in Hickory, N.C., where he lives. He served as MAA president in 1997-98 and has remained engaged as an active past president.

Van Dyke, a 1971 graduate of the medical school and a resident of Wilmington, N.C., is clinical professor of obstetrics/gynecology with the University of North Carolina and in practice at the Women’s Health Center at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, N.C. Now chair of the MAA’s major gifts committee, Van Dyke has been an active member of the MAA Board and served as president in 2004-05. He has also served on Wake Forest Baptist’s Board of Visitors.

Robinette is senior director of alumni development at Wake Forest Baptist, which he joined in fall 2010 following a successful career at Appalachian State University (ASU). A native of Statesville, N.C., and a resident of Advance, N.C., he holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from ASU, which he served as its first director of alumni affairs beginning in 1971. In 1996, he was named associate vice chancellor for university advancement and later directed ASU’s “Campaign for the Second Century,” which raised $83.2 million for the university’s 100th anniversary in 2001. Following his retirement from ASU, Robinette worked as a consultant with various nonprofit organizations in northwest North Carolina.

Winners of MAA awards are selected annually from nominations made to and approved by the MAA Awards and Nominations Committee, which is composed of past presidents of the MAA.

Note: Photos available.

Media Relations

Eric Whittington: ewhittin@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-5318