An investiture ceremony was held on August 7, 2014, to recognize Bankole Johnson, DSc, MD, MBChB, MPhil, FRCPsych, DFAPA, FACFEI, as the inaugural Dr. Irving J. Taylor Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychiatry. The 95-year-old Dr. Taylor, who was on hand for the ceremony, is legendary in the world of Maryland psychiatry, having been among the first psychiatrists to use antipsychotic and antidepressant medications as they came to market in the 1950s and 1960s. “You have to imagine what it must have been like to be a pioneer in using medicines to treat psychiatric patients, how difficult that must have been,” said Dr. Johnson in his remarks at the investiture.
Dr. Johnson, too, seeks in his research to find innovative ways to treat problems such as addiction with medication as well as therapy. “I am honored to receive this medal in your honor, and I will do everything possible to advance all the things you dream about when you think about what is possible in psychiatry,” Dr. Johnson vowed to Dr. Taylor.
Dr. Johnson was presented with a medal that can be worn from now on at formal ceremonies as a symbol of his endowed professorship, a framed copy of which was also given to Dr. Taylor. The medal has the name of his professorship on one side and an engraved image of Dr. John Beale Davidge, one of the founders of the medical school, on the other. “I look forward to many, many exciting developments as research goals are realized under your leadership,” Dr. Taylor told Dr. Johnson.
Dr. Taylor, a 1943 graduate, and his family, are long-time supporters of the School of Medicine, and the freshman lecture hall for students in the Bressler research building was named in their honor in 2006, in recognition of a gift that helped the School make important technological and aesthetic improvements to the aging room. The Office of Development is charged with securing these private gifts “to ensure that the School’s tradition of excellence is sustained through robust research, outstanding clinical programs, and top-notch educational efforts,” said Brian DeFilippis, MS, Associate Dean for Development. “Endowed professorships play a critical role in this institutional success.”
Faculty members such as Dr. Johnson are critical to helping the School of Medicine maintain its standing in the top echelon of U. S. medical schools. Endowed chairs and professorships, which began at Oxford University in the 1500s, help institutions attract and retain teachers of excellence. “It is because of endowed professorships like this that we can recruit faculty members of great significance to these positions, which continues a tradition going back 500 years,” said Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine. “The talented members of this group inspire our students, advance the frontiers of knowledge, and make discoveries that are changing people’s lives.”