Alum president views school from all angles

A member of the class of 1979, Dr. Louis A. Stool has witnessed drastic changes at UT Southwestern since his days as a student.

"Back then, it was just the tower. There were no Nobel laureates, no North Campus, Aston Ambulatory Care Center, student housing or child-care program," he said. "Today, this is a giant enterprise with thousands of moving parts. When I visit other medical institutions, I'm always reminded of how well we do things around here."

Dr. Stool has a rare perspective of UT Southwestern as a former student and present-day associate professor of anesthesiology and pain management and president of the UT Southwestern Medical School Alumni Association Board of Trustees.

With the first year of his two-year term completed, he said: "The alumni are a very important part of this institution's success. Involving UT Southwestern alumni in various aspects of student recruiting will help us hold our ground as Texas' public medical schools increase their recruiting efforts. Our alumni will help us further improve our ability to enroll students sought after by the most prestigious medical schools in the country."

In addition to his status as a former student, faculty member and alumnus, he's also been a businessman. After graduating and passing the state and national exams, Dr. Stool started an investment firm.

"My family had a medical, legal and business background. I always had an interest in business. When the opportunity presented itself, I took a chance."

Dr. Stool was a self-employed investor until 1990. He says the decision to leave medicine to go into the business world and then return to medicine had a tremendous impact on the person he is today.

"I was older when I returned to medicine. I had a family, a mortgage, and I learned what it took to survive in the business world," he said. "The practice of medicine presents a different set of challenges. I have enjoyed the opportunity to utilize experiences from two distinct cultures."

After his business career, Dr. Stool interned in general surgery, then began his anesthesiology residency at UT Southwestern. He finished his residency in 1994 and joined the faculty the same year. He has served on the medical school's board since 1998 and expects to see alumni play a more active role in the future in recruiting the highest caliber medical students.

"Just think about the mission statement: clinical excellence, research, and education," said Dr. Stool, holder of the Anesthesiology Alumni Professorship. "As a clinician, I am most excited about the expanding clinical opportunities at UT Southwestern -- from transplant services, advanced imaging, pain management and comprehensive cancer care to women's health. There's so much opportunity at UT Southwestern."