November 01, 2023

Portrait of former Heersink School of Medicine dean unveiled

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Drs. Selwyn Vickers, Ray Watts, and Anupam Agarwal with Vickers' official portraitOn Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, Heersink School of Medicine and UAB Health System leaders, faculty, staff, and supporters gathered in the new Heersink Active Learning Center at Volker Hall for the unveiling of the official portrait of former Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS.

Guests were welcomed by Anupam Agarwal, M.D., who succeeded Vickers as senior vice president for Medicine and dean in February 2023. Agarwal praised the bold and ambitious vision that characterized Vickers’ tenure as dean, which he called “one of the most transformative eras in our school’s history.”

Agarwal was followed by UAB President Ray Watts, M.D., who shared how much he valued Vickers’ partnership and leadership, especially during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marnix Heersink, M.D., whose $95 million gift named the Heersink School of Medicine in 2021, spoke about his admiration for Vickers as a person and a leader, and of the extraordinary potential of both UAB and the Heersink School of Medicine.

James Stallworth, the MS3 class president, introduced Vickers. He recounted Vickers’ upbringing in Demopolis and later Tuscaloosa and Huntsville, and detailed his medical training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, and John Radcliffe Hospital of Oxford University, England. Vickers’ academic medicine career took him from the UAB Department of Surgery to the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Surgery, before he returned to UAB to become dean of the Heersink School of Medicine. On Sept. 19, 2022, Vickers assumed the role of President and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

The portrait was then unveiled. The artist, Jie Ruan of Montgomery, was present, as well as Kelly Moffatt of Portraits, Inc., who helped the school commission the work.

Vickers then took to the podium to express his gratitude for the opportunities UAB and the Heersink School of Medicine had given him. He also reflected on the major influences in his life—including his parents and other family members, many of whom were in attendance, whose dedication to education and excellence left a profound impression on him.

Vickers’ portrait will join the portraits of former deans that line the first floor hallway of Volker Hall.