Black Ties for White Coats Raises $162K for Scholarships, Honors Robert Witzburg

Hiebert Lounge never looked so good! Almost 175 faculty, alumni, staff and friends gathered Thursday night to raise money for student scholarships and to recognize the 45-year career of Robert Witzburg, MD, at Black Ties for White Coats, a first-of-its-kind event for the medical school.

Underwritten by BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, and her husband Elliott Antman, MD, all proceeds went to the Robert Witzburg, MD, ’77 Scholarship Fund. To date, more than $162,000 has been raised, and contributions still are being accepted.

“The school hadn’t done anything like this before,” said Dean Antman. “I especially thank the departments who sponsored tables; we very much appreciate their support for our students in Bob’s honor. The evening was full of good food, great music, and camaraderie.”

Speakers included David Coleman, MD, Wade Professor and Chair of Medicine; Angela Jackson, MD, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Medicine; and Witzburg’s daughters, Anne-Marie Sklarwitz and Deborah Witzburg, all of whom delivered entertaining and moving tributes.

“Bob, on behalf of generations of (Boston) City residents, and now generations of students, I want to thank you – for being the dedicated teacher and the astute clinician. You challenged your learners – us – through your own practice of the science and art of medicine, to dig deeper, work harder and aim higher. Thank you for walking the walk, and teaching us to do that, too. And thank you for asking, ‘Is there anything that I can do to help?’ and really meaning it. It is an honor to call you my friend,” said Jackson.

“I thank you all very much for the gift of 45 years in the most noble of all professions, and I will never forget any one of you and the opportunities you have given me and the growth that I have had as a result of all of you and your work,” Witzburg said. “If someone had asked me what is the greatest honor that someone could confer upon me as I leave this campus after 45 years, I think I would have said ‘to make it easier for deserving students to join our profession in the future’ and that’s what all of you have done. I thank all of you very much for what you have done for the scholarship program.

“If I have accomplished even a fraction of the things that have been attributed to me today, it is truly because I have spent my life trying to be the person who (my wife) Lorraine quite unaccountably thinks I am,” he concluded.

See the highlights below.