On Thursday, March 22, The Hill School held its annual Sixth Form Leadership Award ceremony, the kick-off event to the following day’s 2012 Leadership and Career Summit activities. This prestigious award, presented annually to an individual who has proven to be an exemplary leader and true role model for Hill students, was presented to David Paton, M.D., a member of the class of 1948.
Dr. Paton is an internationally recognized academic ophthalmologist, now retired. He also is a humanitarian and founder of several non-profit organizations dedicated to providing much needed preventative eye care and treatment to the citizens of developing countries. He is the founder of and former medical director of Project ORBIS International, the world’s only Flying Eye Hospital and mobile teaching hospital. Also, during the ceremony, The Hill posthumously recognized Philip Moen Stimson, M.D., a member of The Hill’s class of 1905 and Honorary Trustee and pediatrician. View a slideshow of photos from this event.
Before the award presentation officially began, Bill Robertson ’92, director of alumni relations, thanked Mrs. Kay Dougherty on behalf of the Alumni Association for the tremendous role she has played through the years as creator and coordinator of Career Day. The first Career Day held at the School took place in 1996. Since that time Kay has brought hundreds of alumni, parent, and friends to campus to share their stories of personal and professional growth and success.
SGA Vice President Ben Walsh ’12, of Jeffersonville, Pa., highlighted the accomplishments and contributions of Dr. Philip Stimson, who passed away in September 1971, noting Dr. Stimson’s decorated military service as a captain in the U.S. Army during World War I and later in the Reserves; his commitment to ensuring that the children in his care receive top quality medical services; and his stellar service as a Hill School Trustee and chair of the Medical Committee from 1939 until 1967 when he was named an Honorary Trustee of the School.
Dr. Paton was introduced by SGA President Raye Sosseh ’12, of Clarksburg, Md., who provided students with a few highlights of Dr. Paton’s storied career as a leader in the field of ophthalmology and a humanitarian whose work has taken him around the world helping the blind see-- performing life-changing surgeries and providing preventative eye care treatment to citizens of developing countries.
In his conversational address, Dr. Paton shared his personal thoughts on what he considers to be several important facets of leadership: one’s natural assets, power, ambition, personality, and creativity. He noted that his ambition from an early age was to become a doctor like his father and grandfather. In order to achieve that goal, he knew he had to work very hard, especially because he struggled with math and reading, often finding himself taking much longer than his classmates to complete his assignments. It was during his college years at Princeton that he later discovered that his struggles were due to a moderate form of dyslexia, which he later referred to as “his greatest gift.”
It was Dr. Paton’s dyslexia that empowered his creativity and imagination, both in his academic and humanitarian work. He credited his establishment of Project ORIS as a product of that creativity. His idea of transforming a refurbished DC-8 aircraft into a mobile teaching hospital and eye clinic allowed hundreds of eye surgeons to receive the hands-on training they required while at the same time restoring the vision of millions of men, women, and children around the world.
Dr. Paton cautioned students to beware of those individuals whose leadership is masked by arrogance. “Arrogance and vanity can be very misleading to one’s own self-awareness,” said Dr. Paton, using Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes” as an example of this important point.
In closing, Dr. Paton said: “Leadership can be the greatest, most thrilling, fun, entertaining, rewarding, difficult sometimes, challenging sometimes, but pleasing way you can live.”
Headmaster Dougherty thanked Dr. Paton saying, “I’ve never seen a more impressive citation of responsibilities and gifts coupled with such a unique combination of ambition and humility.”
Raye Sosseh then joined Mr. Dougherty in the unveiling of the award, a framed collage documenting Dr. Paton’s life and work.More about David Paton, M.D.
Dr. Paton is a 1952 graduate of Princeton University and 1956 graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. After completing a medical internship at Cornell University Medical College’s New York Hospital, he spent two years in ophthalmology research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. He completed his five-year residency in ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Wilmer Institute. He traveled overseas to Jerusalem, Jordan for his fourth year of his training. Inspired by his father, the late Dr. R. Townley Paton, also an ophthalmologist and founder of the world’s first eye bank in 1944, Dr. Paton established one of the earliest eye banks in the Middle East. He was decorated for his efforts by King Hussein of Jordan.
Dr. Paton’s past faculty appointment sites have included The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, where in addition to his work in ophthalmology he served for four years as dean of admissions for The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Baylor College of Medicine in Houston where he also served as chairman and director of the college’s Cullen Eye Institute; and Cornell University Medical Center in New York, where he was a professor and served as chairman of the department of ophthalmology at the Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn and Queens, which was affiliated with Cornell.
A former Markle Scholar in Academic Medicine, Dr. Paton is past chairman of the American Board of Ophthalmology and former secretary of continuing education and vice president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). He is the author and/or editor of a number of textbooks and the first author of 160 published original medical papers; his clinical work has favored corneal and cataract surgery.
Dr. Paton has received numerous accolades primarily as a result of his role as the founder and medical director of Project ORBIS, which since its creation has carried out more than 1,000 programs in 88 countries, enhanced the skills of more than 288,000 eye health care personnel, and helped provide quality eye care treatment to more than 15 million people. He is the recipient of two honorary degrees: Princeton University’s Class of 1952’s Distinguished Classmate Award for Career Achievement (1992), and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award. He also has been recognized by the French Legion of Honor and received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Ronald Reagan in 1987. Dr. Paton served for eight years on the medical advisory board of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He also served on the advisory board of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
His most recent and active professional participations involve the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation, the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, some medical consultancies, and non-governmental organizations related to eye care abroad, including One World Sight Project and World Eye Organization. He has also written a “provocative memoir,” Second Sight: Views from an Eye Doctor’s Odyssey, which details, in part, the delight of participating in the evolutionary status of global eye care and the infringements upon medicine by law and business.
Dr. Paton is the father of one son, David Townley Paton. He resides on the South Fork of Long Island, N.Y. with his wife, Diane Johnston Paton.Dr. Philip Moen Stimson, Hill class of 1905, Posthumous Recipient of the 2012 Sixth Form Leadership Award
During the evening’s ceremony, The Hill School will posthumously honor Philip Moen Stimson, M.D., a member of the class of 1905, Honorary Trustee of The Hill School, and respected physician and pediatrician. In the course of his long career in pediatrics, Dr. Stimson was associated with New York Hospital- Cornell Medical Center, the Floating Hospital of St. John’s Guild, the Willard Parker Hospital, and the New York Academy of Medicine. He was a member of the select American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition to his large private practice, Dr. Stimson was active in the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, a disease in which he specialized for many years. He was a professor emeritus
of clinical pediatrics at Cornell University and the author of A Manual of the Common Contagious Diseases
. Dr. Philip Stimson passed away on September 13, 1971.