Top pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Carson to share his story

Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 7:36 a.m.

Dr. Benjamin Carson is among the most recognized pediatric neurosurgeons in the United States.

Few would have guessed that he'd achieve so much back in 1951 when he was born in Detroit to a poorly educated mother who had married at 13.

Carson, a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, will bring his inspiring story to the University of Florida tonight at 7 in the Reitz Union grand ballroom. Doors open at 6 p.m.

His visit, part of the "MLK2010: Leave Your Mark" celebration, is coordinated by UF's Accent speaker's bureau.

Carson was a failing student in fifth grade when he discovered a hunger for knowledge that has driven him to achieve ever since.

After graduating with honors from high school, he attended Yale, then enrolled in medical school at the University of Michigan.

He did his residency in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, before going on to become the hospital's director of pediatric neurosurgery at the age of 32.

His groundbreaking surgeries have been documented in his memoir, "Gifted Hands," which was made into a TV movie last year.

In 2008, the White House announced that Carson would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Carson has said that his philosophy is that there is no such thing as an "average" human being.

"If you have a normal brain, you are superior. There is almost nothing that you can't do," he told one interviewer.

He added, "It's really a matter of mind-set and what one thinks. Achievement has very little to do with some innate intellectual gift."

Carson says that one of the greatest challenges in his life is "helping to turn around our young people, helping them to understand how important it is to achieve intellectually."

To aid that effort, he founded the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments.

The fund has awarded more than $3.9 million to more than 3,900 young scholars.

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