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Tulane celebrates dedication of John W. Deming Department of Medicine

November 25, 2019 3:15 PM
Keith Brannon kbrannon@tulane.edu
At the dedication of the John W. Deming Department of Medicine at Tulane's School of Medicine, Bertie Deming Smith (seated) and her children (left to right), Cathy Pierson, Bebe Heiner and Claiborne Deming, honored the memory of Dr. John Deming, an alumnus and ardent supporter of the university. A portrait was unveiled at the dedication. (Photo by Dinah Rogers)


Tulane University School of Medicine recently celebrated the dedication of the John W. Deming Department of Medicine and the formal unveiling of a portrait of the department’s namesake, Dr. John Winton Deming (M ’44), on the seventh floor of the Hutchinson Building downtown.

John Deming’s wife of 50 years, Bertie Deming Smith, her children, Cathy Pierson (G ’78, SW ’89), Bebe Heiner and Claiborne Deming (A&S ’76, L ’79), and extended family members joined Tulane senior leadership and School of Medicine faculty members for the celebration last week.

Bertie Deming Smith told those gathered that having the Department of Medicine bear his name “is an honor that John would have loved the most.”

“John embodied the academic and professional excellence that drives Tulane.”

President Mike Fitts

In 2017, Bertie Deming Smith made a substantial gift to the School of Medicine to honor her husband and transform the Department of Medicine’s research enterprise. John Deming, who passed away in 1996 at the age of 76, was an extraordinary physician and civic leader who believed strongly in education and in giving back to his community and Tulane.

John Deming was “a truly iconic man” who had a profound impact on Tulane and the School of Medicine, said President Mike Fitts.

“John embodied the academic and professional excellence that drives Tulane. He was a legendary internist with lofty academic aspirations at the university,” President Fitts said. “Bertie’s incredible tribute to name the John W. Deming Department of Medicine will ensure his legacy is literally set in stone.”

The $25 million Deming gift is the largest in the School of Medicine’s history. It will fund both clinical and translational research, which allows scientists to transform discoveries made in the laboratory into effective treatments, ultimately improving the health of patients.

“This is a remarkable gift and the department and the school plan to do remarkable things with it,” said Dr. Lee Hamm, dean and senior vice president of the School of Medicine. “It is going to make a profound difference in many lives. It is going to make a difference in the lives of our faculty, our students, residents, the patients that they touch and the patients in the future who will benefit from all that they learn in their studies. It is a fitting way to honor Dr. Deming.”