Emanuel Suter, second dean of UF medical school, dies at age 95


Dr. Emanuel Suter, a founding leader of the University of Florida College of Medicine, has died at age 95.

Courtesy of UF Health Science
Published: Friday, January 17, 2014 at 12:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 17, 2014 at 12:15 p.m.

A pioneer in medical education at the University of Florida, Dr. Emanuel Suter died at the age of 95 on Jan. 8 in Charlottesville, Va., where he had lived in retirement.

Suter was the first chair of the microbiology department at UF and became the UF College of Medicine's second dean in 1965.

He was best known for developing a medical curriculum that introduced clinical practice with basic science education and became a model for medical schools across the nation, said Dr. Parker Small, professor emeritus at the College of Medicine.

“Since then, virtually all medical schools have recognized the need to integrate basic science with clinical medicine,” Small said.

Small, who is a microbiologist, worked with Suter and succeeded him as chair of the microbiology department in 1966.

“He was the best boss I ever had — an unbelievable human being,” Small said, describing Suter as “rigorously honest, selfless.”

“He never would take credit for anything. He would work hard on getting something done, getting it to work, and then make sure that someone else got the credit,” Small said.

“He created a Camelot where people worked together,” Small continued. “It was an environment where all chairmen had as a goal the betterment of medicine.”

Suter was born in Basel, Switzerland, and came to the U.S. in 1949 to pursue research on tuberculosis at the Rockefeller Institute, according to a UF media release. He then established an experimental education program at Harvard University that caught the attention of the UF faculty who recruited Suter.

At UF, Suter also developed a program in family and community medicine, the precursor to those departments. A proponent of civil rights and diversity, he also developed a recruiting program for minority students.

Suter left UF in 1972 and held positions at the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Veterans Administration. He returned to UF as an educational consultant from 1991-1997.

After retiring, Suter moved to Charlottesville, Va., where he had a son. He is survived by three children.

Contact Kristine Crane at 338-3119, or kristine.crane@gvillesun.com.

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