J. Lowell Orbison

James Lowell Orbison


Born: 8 March, 1915, Bronson, Kansas

Academic Degrees

  • AB: Ottawa University, Ottawa, Kansas 1937
  • MS: Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan1939
  • MD: Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, 1944

Academic Positions

  • 1949 - 1955 Assistant then Associate Professor of Pathology, Western Reserve University
  • and Assistant then Associate Pathologist, University Hospitals, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1955 - 1970 George Hoyt Whipple Professor and Chairman, Department of Pathology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
  • 1967 - 1979 Director, University of Rochester Medical Center
  • and Dean, University of Rochester Medicine and Dentistry


  • St. Luke's Hospital and University Hospitals, Chicago, Illinois
  • Cleveland City Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio

Selected Career Highlights

  • Many honors and awards, including an honorary doctor of laws, Nazareth College, Rochester, NY (1979).

  • President, American Association of Pathologists and Bacteriologists (1969) and Intersociety Committee for Research Potential in Pathology (1961), and Chairman, Pathology Training Committee of the NIH (1963-1966) and Committee on Cancer Research Centers (1973-1977).

  • Editorial Board of many journals.

  • Widespread interests including 50 publications with studies on experimental tumor production and experimental hypertension and arteritis; human infections, congenital heart disease and other vascular diseases; wound healing and chronic inflammation; medical curricula and medical teaching; histochemical staining; eye and ear pathology; research potentials and manpower needs in pathology.

  • Master teacher: knew each student in medical school by name and keenly developed the art of dialogue with the medical students.

  • Presided over a meeting of an international society in Washington DC during the day, and then went on an overnight hike with his son's Boy Scout troop when the outdoor temperature was well below zero.

  • In 1982 the awards to pathologists in training, for excellence in presentation of scientific abstracts at the annual USCAP meeting, was renamed the "Stowell-Orbison Awards", honoring Dr. Robert Stowell and Dr. Orbison for their having stimulated research and created a forum for young pathologists at IAP meetings.

  • He displayed his enormous fund of knowledge of flora and fauna by leading interested groups through the swamps at Bergen and Montezuma on nature hikes and by building a beautiful Japanese rock garden in his own back yard.


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