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Dr. Charles Putman, Duke Senior Vice President, Dies at Age 57

Dr. Charles Putman, Duke Senior Vice President, Dies at Age 57
Dr. Charles Putman, Duke Senior Vice President, Dies at Age 57


Duke Health News Duke Health News

DURHAM, N.C. -- Dr. Charles E. Putman, senior vice president
for research administration and policy at Duke University and
close adviser to three Duke presidents, suffered an apparent
heart attack at his home in Durham Monday night and died in
Duke Hospital where he had been caring for patients earlier in
the day. He was 57.

Putman, who was board certified both in internal medicine
and radiology and previously served as dean of medicine, had
continued to practice medicine. He also was the James B. Duke
Professor of Radiology.

Dr. Charles Putman

"He was a brilliant scientist whose pathbreaking work in
imaging was world renowned," said university President Nannerl
O. Keohane. "While he was a national leader in research policy,
he was first and foremost a physician who cared deeply about
his patients. His compassionate caring for so many people and
his strong leadership of the university's research enterprise
made an enormous difference to Duke. No one loved Duke more nor
was more dedicated to our university than Charles. Our hearts
go out to Mary and the children he loved so well."

Putman was married to Mary Evans Clark in 1966. They had
three children, Cammie Dale, Shannon and Charles; a son-in-law,
Greg Dale; and two grandchildren, Abbey Dale and Graham

In addition to his responsibilities at Duke, Putman held
several leadership positions in North Carolina's Research
Triangle. He was chairman of the board of MCNC, a non-profit
Research Triangle Park corporation that develops electronic
technologies, and was a director and former vice chairman of
the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. He also was a trustee
of the Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies, a
governor of the Research Triangle Institute and a director of
North Carolina Alliance for Competitive Technologies.

Putman also served as a trustee for the Southeastern
Universities Research Association, and was on the board of
directors of the Oak Ridge (National Laboratory) Association of

He was a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of
the National Academy of Sciences. In 1994, he was named
chairman of a committee of the Institute of Medicine that
reviewed federal regulation of the use of radioactive materials
in medicine.

"Charles was sort of a renaissance man," said Dr. H. Keith
H. Brodie, president of Duke from 1985 to 1993. "He changed
Duke in many wonderful ways. He left behind a top-ranking
radiology department and an extraordinary science building that
is without peer. As dean of the medical school, he
substantially increased the admission of African American
students, and then, as he moved on to become vice president for
research, he dramatically increased research support for our
faculty. And he was an ambassador for Duke in the Research
Triangle and for Durham internationally. "He was the consummate
clinician, always available, helpful and effective. Duke has
lost an extraordinary leader. We are all vastly diminished by
his passing."

"Charles Putman was a dear friend and loyal colleague," said
Dr. Ralph Snyderman, chancellor for health affairs at Duke. "I
personally came to count on him as someone I could always turn
to for advice, support and just plain good conversation. He
distinguished himself as an outstanding chair of radiology, a
superb physician-scientist, an outstanding physician-educator
and a first-rate academic administrator.

"Charles will long be remembered for his dedication,
tenacity, integrity, energy and determination to get the job
done. We will miss his Texas drawl, his understated sense of
humor, his grit and determination, his commitment to
excellence, and his loyal support of all things Duke." Putman
received his bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at
Austin and his M.D. from the University of Texas Medical School
in Galveston. In 1977, during Terry Sanford's presidency,
Putman came to Duke from the Yale University School of Medicine
to become chairman of radiology at the medical center. He was
named James B. Duke Professor of Radiology and professor of
medicine in 1983.

In 1985, Putman became vice chancellor for health affairs
and vice provost. In 1986, he was named dean of the School of
Medicine and vice provost for research and development. He
relinquished his post as dean in 1987 to devote more time to
enhance the university's research programs, and he was named
vice president for research administration and policy in

In 1990, Brodie appointed Putman executive vice president
for administration, the university's senior financial officer,
a position he held until he was named by Keohane to the new
position of senior vice president for research administration
and policy in 1995.

While he was executive vice president, Putman oversaw
development of the $80 million Levine Science Research Center,
a major interdisciplinary laboratory center that has become the
centerpiece of Duke's research and teaching in the

Putman received many awards and honors, including the Gold
Medal in 1991 from the Association of University Radiologists
and the Duke Distinguished Faculty Award in 1996. He held many
professional memberships and had a long history of service to
the American College of Chest Physicians, the Association of
University Radiologists, the American College of Radiology and
the Radiological Society of North America. He was awarded North
Carolina's Order of the Long Leaf Pine twice, by Gov. Jim
Martin in 1992 and Gov. Jim Hunt in 1998 for his contributions
to the state.

He received many grants and was a principal investigator for
the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He was the author or
co-author of 199 published research reports and was the editor
or co-editor of nine textbooks.

The funeral service will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday in Duke
Chapel. Family visitation will be Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at
the Hall-Wynne Funeral Home in Durham. The family asks that in
lieu of flowers, donations be directed to the Charles Putman
Endowment at Duke University.

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