UI 150: Dr. Joel Geiderman

Dr. Joel Geiderman

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He’s considered one of the pioneers of emergency medicine — co-chair of the department at LA’s Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, medical director of the Beverly Hills Fire Department and 2020 recipient of the College of LAS’ Alumni Humanitarian Award.

So, says Dr. Joel Geiderman (BS ’72, physiology), “it might come as a surprise for someone who graduated with degrees in biology and physiology and became a medical doctor, but the professor who left the greatest mark on me was a woman named Ruth Stone, who taught Introduction to Poetry.

“I believe she was poet laureate of Illinois at the time and was poet laureate of Vermont at the time of her death at age 96. She had been affected greatly by the suicide of her husband and taught us about life as well as poetry.

“She was a harsh but great teacher. She taught me the difference between a rhyme and a poem. All of my classes were rigorous; there were no easy grades.

“My science teachers were fabulous, too. It was a truly great liberal arts and sciences education.”

Among Geiderman’s post-UI claims to fame: being appointed by then-President George W. Bush the vice chair of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council (2005-10) and chairing the American College of Emergency Physicians’ ethics committee.

He’ll be honored by his alma mater during LAS Impact 2020, a weeklong virtual celebration of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that kicks off on Oct. 26.

— Jeff D’Alessio