Santa Monica resident Dr. Donald G. Skinner, a urologic surgeon, was awarded USC’s 2005 Presidential Medallion, the university’s top honor, at the 24th Academic Honors Convocation on March 10.
Skinner, chair of the Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology and the Hanson-White Chair in Medical Research in the Keck School of Medicine of USC, received the honor along with Kevin Starr, University Professor and professor of history in USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, California State Librarian Emeritus, and noted author.
The two men were honored, along with 20 other winners of faculty and student awards.
“Professors Skinner and Starr are shining exemplars of our university’s academic and research excellence,” said USC President Steven B. Sample.
Skinner has spent more than 40 years distinguishing himself as a urologic surgeon and pioneer in the surgical treatment of bladder cancer.
A 1964 graduate of Yale University’s medical school, Skinner trained in general surgery at Harvard University-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, as well as in the Air Force. He returned to Mass General for his urology residency and stayed at Harvard for a year as an instructor before heading to UCLA, where he joined the urology faculty.
Skinner came to USC as a professor of surgery and chief of the division of urologic surgery in 1980 and established the USC Department of Urology in 1990. Besides serving as that department’s chair, he has also has served as chief of staff at USC/Norris.
When Skinner arrived at USC, he was the only faculty member in the urology program, which had no federal research dollars. Today, the Department of Urology’s faculty members hold 10 National Institutes of Health grants worth $2.3 million in direct research funding. And its genitourinary surgeons are the busiest at USC/Norris Hospital, logging more than 850 major operations annually.
In recognition of his impact on urology worldwide, Skinner has received some of the field’s most prestigious awards, including both the Gold Cystoscope Award and the Barringer Medal from the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons. In January, he was awarded the Huggins Medal, the highest award bestowed by the Society of Urologic Oncology.“Thanks in large part to Dr. Skinner’s reputation and innovative patient care, the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital has become a flagship institution for Southern California and the world at large, and he has built the Keck School of Medicine’s Department of Urology into one of the world’s best,” Sample said.