Richard Cote, M.D., Named First Joseph R. Coulter, Jr. Endowed Chair in Pathology

Richard J. Cote, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Pathology, chief of service at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and director of the Biomedical Nanotechnology Institute at the University of Miami (BioNIUM), accepted the Joseph R. Coulter, Jr. Endowed Chair in Pathology at a January 26 ceremony at the Miller School’s Clinical Research Building.

Acknowledging Chair Emeritus Azorides Morales, M.D., who also attended the event, Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., recalled the day he sought Morales’ guidance in selecting the outgoing chair’s successor. “Finding someone to fill Dr. Morales’ shoes was going to be difficult, but Dr. Cote assumed the department chair position with his trademark energy and smarts,” Dean Goldschmidt said. “We were lucky to get him.”

“That’s one reason why I am always so glad to attend events like this one, where we recognize the vision and generosity of great Miller School supporters, like the Coulter Family and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, and the talent of great physicians like my good friend, Dr. Cote. Endowments like these are what allow us to attract the smartest and the brightest physicians and researchers anywhere.”

In an emotional recollection of her late father for whom the chair is named, UM Trustee Laura Coulter-Jones said she was honored to have her father’s name associated with Cote, who will “continue the legacy of the Coulter brothers and their commitment to science for the benefit of mankind.”

Sue Van, president and CEO of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, fought back tears as she recalled what a delight it was to work with both Joe and Wallace Coulter. She noted how pleased they were to support medical research at the Miller School through the Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research, which helps accelerate the introduction of cutting-edge research into clinical care. Indeed, Dean Goldschmidt acknowledged that technology invented and brought to market by the Coulter brothers—such as the Coulter counter, an apparatus for counting and sizing particles suspended in electrolytes—was familiar to every doctor in the room.

Also representing the Coulter family and foundation were Mike Jones, Beth Ann (Coulter) Morgenthau and her husband Tony, Mary (Coulter) Donovan and her husband George, and Joseph Coulter, III, as well as Coulter Foundation leaders Wayne Barlin, Susan Racher, Elias Caro, and Mara Neal.

“You can tell this is an important event, just based on how many of us came out to participate,” Van said. “It’s an honor for all of us to be here to celebrate Wallace and Joe, and Dr. Cote.”

Accepting the chair, Cote said the department has long been a source of education and innovation. “It is appropriate that this first chair in pathology be named after medical pioneers like the Coulters,” he said. “Wallace and Joe would have been proud of what we’re doing, especially through cross-disciplinary research, such as BioNIUM, where colleagues from the medical school and colleagues from engineering and arts and sciences are working closely together to find new ways to incorporate nanotechnology into medical science.”

Speaking about his initial hesitancy to uproot his family from their native California to assume the chairmanship of the department, Cote, who was accompanied by wife Anne, assistant vice president for advancement and senior advisor to Dean Goldschmidt, and children Juliet, Nicholas, and Grace, recognized that his work at the Miller School allowed him to expand beyond his own research agenda.

“I have often said that I did not choose science, it chose me,” Cote said. “I have been very fortunate to pursue my passion and develop my own research programs, but three years ago I received the opportunity from Dean Goldschmidt and President Shalala to come to the University of Miami and lead one of the major departments of pathology in the country. That opportunity allowed me to help build programs well beyond my own personal purview.

“It has been the most exciting time in my professional career, and I am truly grateful,” he continued. “My philosophy is very much aligned with the Coulters’ mission of ‘science servicing humanity,’ and it is a great honor and privilege for me to help carry that forward.”

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