Harry Beaty, MD, a specialist in internal medicine and infectious diseases and former dean of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, passed away on December 8, 2012. He was 80 years old.
Beaty served as dean of the medical school from 1983 to 1997, and became president of McGaw Medical Center in 1990. He most recently served as professor emeritus of infectious diseases.
“Speaking on behalf of the medical school, Northwestern benefitted greatly from Dean Beaty’s dedication to building a top-tier research enterprise,” said Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for Medical Affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean at Feinberg. “The positive impact of his deanship will continue to be felt well into the future.”
Beaty oversaw the construction of the Tarry Building, a research and educational space opened in 1990. The Tarry Building was the first major research investment in a quarter century, and added as much modern research space as the original campus complex had collectively.
The additional research space enabled the medical school to recruit a number of renowned faculty researchers, who attracted more sponsored research funding. Within six years, the medical school’s research funding grew by 88 percent, more than double the rate of growth for medical schools nationwide. The building also housed the Weinberg Medical Informatics Center, a unique site for training both students and faculty in the use of computers in medical education and practice.
During Beaty’s tenure, the medical school also made its first appearance on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 25 research-based medical schools in the country, earning the honor in 1997.
“He recognized early on the central importance of a strong and independent faculty practice and NMFF now stands as an enduring legacy of his leadership. Harry and Georgia were good friends and cultivated close and cohesive bonds within the medical school,” said Lewis Landsberg, MD, director of the Northwestern University Comprehensive Center on Obesity, Irving S. Cutter Professor of Medicine Emeritus, and former dean of the medical school. Beaty recruited Landsberg to the medical school to serve as chair of the Department of Medicine.
In his 14 years as dean, Beaty established several multidisciplinary centers, such as the Markey Program in Developmental Biology, the Asher Center for the Study of Depressive Disorders, and the Interdisciplinary Immunology Center. He also is credited with implementing a new management system and a solid infrastructure that allowed Feinberg to grow.
“He was a remarkably focused and determined leader who had a vision for greatness for our medical school,” said Jeffrey Glassroth, MD, professor in medicine-pulmonary , interim medical school dean and past president and CEO of NMFF. Glassroth served in the NMFF leadership when Beaty was its president and CEO.
Before he succeeded James E. Eckenhoff, MD, as dean, Beaty was chair of medicine at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Prior to that, he held a faculty position at the University of Washington for 11 years. During his career, he published more than 90 journal articles and book chapters on infectious diseases.
Born in Brookfield, Missouri, Beaty lived in Milwaukee and Nashville before graduating from high school in Seattle. He was the first member of his family to attend college and went to the University of Washington, earning a bachelor’s degree in zoology in 1954.
Beaty stayed at the University of Washington for his medical degree, which he received in 1958. After an internship at the University of Minnesota, he joined the U.S. Navy as a medical officer, and was stationed in Southern California. He returned to Washington for a residency in internal medicine with a specialty in infectious disease, and then completed a two-year fellowship in medicine and biochemistry. In 1995, he received the University of Washington School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award.
Beaty is survived by his wife Georgia, daughter Kara, and son Chris. A celebration of Dr. Beaty’s life will be held at the family home in Scottsdale, Ariz., in January. No funeral is planned.
A fund is being established in Dr. Beaty’s name and memory at the medical school. Gifts can be sent directly to June Ulrey, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Development & Alumni Relations, 420 E. Superior Street, Rubloff-9, Chicago, IL 60611. Checks should be made payable to Northwestern University.