In Remembrance of Dr. John Hoak

Late last April, Dr. John C. Hoak, a monumental figure in this Department’s history, passed away. We hope you will read about his achievements here.  One of his students, now Director of the Pappajohn Biomedical Institute, Dr. Michael Welsh, offered the following remembrance of Dr. Hoak last weekend.

Dr. Michael Welsh

Memory of Dr. Jack Hoak, MD

I was a medical student rotating on 3-South, and Jack Hoak (Dr. Hoak in those days) was my attending. I had no idea what research was. No idea what a physician-scientist was.

But, I liked the way Jack cared for his patients. The way he thought about problems. The way he let us know that we should do better for those people who sought our care. The way he suggested that if we were to do better, it would come through research.

After a few weeks, I was curious, and I wanted to learn more. So I asked if I could work in his lab that summer. Although I had never before picked up a pipet, he accepted me.

During that summer, I learned some lab techniques, broke some glassware, and attended a scientific meeting. But most importantly, he introduced me to the excitement of research. He helped me begin to sense its potential. For me, that was the start of what would become my life’s work.

I am very grateful for the opportunity Jack Hoak provided to me at a critical point in my life. He gave me a role model.


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