Dr. Eric R. George, successful hand surgeon, to speak Friday at Convocation

Updated 17 weeks ago Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Eric R. George, recently named winner of the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Marshall University Alumni Association, will be the featured speaker Friday evening at the Elizabeth Gibson Drinko Honors Convocation at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center on the Huntington campus.


 
The convocation, part of Marshall's 20th annual Celebration of Academics, starts at 7 p.m. and is free to the public. Marshall students will be recognized for academic achievement by their colleges and departments. The convocation will be followed by a public reception.
 
The convocation is named for the late Elizabeth Gibson Drinko, who was a longstanding supporter of academic programs at Marshall.
 
George is a highly sought-after hand surgeon practicing medicine in Louisiana. A native of Huntington and a graduate of Huntington East High School, he received both his undergraduate and medical degrees from Marshall. He completed a General Trauma Surgery Residency at Michigan State University, then completed a fellowship in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Grand Rapids Area Medical Education Center in Grand Rapids, Mich.
 
George currently is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, La., and an adjunct assistant professor of orthopaedics in the Department of Orthopaedics at Tulane. His practice, the Hand Center of Louisiana, is a state-of-the-art facility, which treats everyone from NFL players to key players in the oil and gas industries, and is the largest in the Gulf South region. He owns a luxury hospital, the Omega Hospital, and several ambulatory surgery centers, urgent care clinics, and assisted living centers.
 
Last year, a Marshall University Society of Yeager Scholarship was provided by George in memory of his late brother, Aaron C. George, a fighter pilot who was killed in a crash. He earned his undergraduate degree - a bachelor of science in chemistry - in 1985, and graduated from MU's School of Medicine in 1989.
 
Although George stood out in medical school he was the class representative for the Liaison Committee for Medical Education and the class representative for the Medical School Advisory Board his success did not come easily. In his first year of medical school, he found himself struggling to keep up despite late nights reading and studying. In a School of Medicine publication, an associate dean told the story of seeing George struggle as a student in histology class. He recalled him staring at a slide unable to comprehend it. Still, he said, "He was getting B's where others were failing. I caught a glimpse of what must be phenomenal intelligence."

Medical school administrators sent George for testing in Boston where it was determined he had an IQ of 160. He was referred to the Higher Education for Learning Problems Center, or H.E.L.P. Center, at Marshall. Tests would show that he was reading at a speed much lower than most of his medical school peers. George then worked on techniques to overcome his learning challenges. He excelled, scoring record numbers on Part 1 of the National Medical Boards.

Today, he is an owner of Hand Surgical Associates, a multi-specialty practice with a more-than 40,000 square-foot facility, 50 employees, four hand surgeons, a neurologist/hematologist and nine therapists.

He still calls Huntington home. "We still like to get a Stewart's hot dog, a Tudor's biscuit and go to a Marshall game," George said. Through his philanthropic endeavors, George is a major contributor to many causes including the St. Martin's Episcopal School George Cottage, for early education of pre-school children in New Orleans, La., and through his children's foundation, Chloe and Cassidy George developed a school for orphans in Mombasa, Kenya.

George also co-founded Tipitina's Foundation, which supports Louisiana and New Orleans' music community and preserves the state's unique musical cultures through programs that give musical instruments to underprivileged kids. Earlier this year, it was reported that the founders of that organization bought the historic Orpheum Theater in New Orleans and are going to reopen it next year. It has been closed since Hurricane Katrina.

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