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William G. Anlyan, M.D.

Posted By Hall-Wynne On January 20, 2016 @ 5:28 pm In Durham,Obituaries | 10 Comments

William G. Anlyan, M.D., chancellor and professor of Duke University and trustee of the Duke Endowment, died at the age of 90 on January 17, 2016.

Dr. Anlyan was one of Duke’s most visionary leaders over his four decades and was instrumental in achieving many of the university and its health enterprise’s most important milestones.

During Anlyan’s tenure as medical school dean and chancellor from 1964-88, the medical center witnessed tremendous growth. Anlyan was responsible for attracting international attention for Duke, was known as an innovator in medical education, and was recognized for nurturing the careers of colleagues. In 1995, he received the Duke Medical Alumni Association’s inaugural lifetime achievement award, which was named in his honor.

Anlyan was raised in Egypt, the son of a British civil servant. He came to the United States in 1943 to enroll at Yale University, from which he received both his bachelor’s and medical degrees. In 1949, Anlyan came to Duke, where he began an internship in general and thoracic surgery. He became an instructor of surgery after completing his residency, and two years later, an assistant professor of surgery.

Nationally, Anlyan played a leadership role in the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), serving as the first chairman of the Council of Deans and chairman. He was a founding member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the Abraham Flexner Award for his contributions to medical education. He served as chair of Yale University Council’s Committee on Medical Affairs, chair of the Cornell Medical College Board of Visitors, and member of the Emory Medical School Board of Visitors. Anlyan was chairman of Research! America, a national organization promoting public education in support of biomedical research, and a recipient of its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

Anlyan also left his mark on the international medical scene. He was active in the World Health Organization, led Duke’s delegation to the People’s Republic of China in 1975 to consult on health care, and served as the U.S. delegate to a number of international conferences on medical affairs in places as far flung as Poland, Japan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Anlyan was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Phi Beta Kappa, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He also was a member of the International Cardiovascular Society and of the International Society of Surgery and Sigma Xi.

Anlyan was an avid tennis player, pianist, and ardent supporter of the arts.

Survivors include his wife Alexandra Hufty Anlyan, of Durham, NC and Palm Beach, FL; Elaine and William G. Anlyan Jr. of Wilmington, NC; Harriet and J. Peter Anlyan of Durham, NC; and Louise Anlyan Harris and Ramsey Dabby of Tenafly, NJ, along with seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A Service of Remembrance for Dr. William G. Anlyan, 90, will be held Saturday, February 6 at 5:00 PM in the Baldwin Auditorium on Duke’s East Campus.

Gifts in Dr. Anlyan’s memory may be made to: The William G. Anlyan, MD, Medical Scholarship Fund,
c/o Duke Medicine Development & Alumni Affairs, Attn: Erica Kitchen, 710 W. Main Street, Suite 200
Durham, NC 27701. This fund provides scholarship money for selected fourth year medical students, funding as many as 12 students annually.

Online memorials: hallwynne.com

Condolences for the family of “William G. Anlyan, M.D.”

Condolence from Dr. Baxter Sapp & Family on January 21st, 2016 9:31 am

God saw you were getting tired and a cure was not to be, so he put his arms around you and whispered, “Come with me”. With tearful eyes we watched you suffer, as you began to fade. Although we loved you dearly, we could not make you stay. A Golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands at rest. God broke our hearts to prove to all he takes the very best. Sleep well dear friend.

Condolence from Louise on January 23rd, 2016 7:30 pm

Thank you, Baxter, for being such a good friend.
Best wishes,
Louise and family

Condolence from Joan Parrish on January 22nd, 2016 7:38 pm

Dear Louise, Peter, Sissy, Bill and family,

I am truly saddened by the news of your Father’s passing.
I will never forget how generous he was in getting me into the hands of New York’s best surgeons. And within mere hours during a couple of emergencies.
He was a great man and I feel privileged to have been in his orb, though briefly, during our youth.

Condolence from Louise on January 23rd, 2016 7:31 pm

Thank you, Joan. I didn’t remember that incident until just now. He was a generous man. So much love. Hope to see you sometime.
Louise and family

Condolence from Earl Dowell on January 29th, 2016 1:21 pm

Dear Alex and Peter,

It was a privilege to know Bill in his personal and professional worlds. He was very kind to a new and untried Dean of Engineering some thirty years ago and was extraordinarily helpful in energizing a small school that has now grown in a way that I believe he would like.

When Bill later invited me to join his tennis circuit it was not only fun, but made the more serious point that even someone with his major responsibilities knew the importance of balance in his life. Bill was competitive and did pick the best partner which of course was Alex when she played with us.

I also think back to the wonderful parties he hosted in his home for members of the Duke community and extended family. I can still see him playing the piano with much enthusiasm and admirable panache.

He was a life force and it was a special privilege knowing him.

With deepest sympathy,


Condolence from Louise Anlyan Harris on February 4th, 2016 3:12 pm

Dear Earl,
In the last few weeks of his life, Dad was talking about the School of Engineering and how it has flourished! How nice to hear from you. Thank you for your very kind words. He talked so fondly of all that you mention.

Best wishes,
Louise and the family

Condolence from Katherine Bradley Johnson on February 2nd, 2016 11:56 am

Dear Bill, Peter, and Louise,
I remember Dr. Anlyan as your father, but also as a brilliant diagnostician and caring physician. I hope the good memories of his professional and personal life will temper your sadness at his loss.
Katherine Bradley Johnson (Kathy Bradley, Durham Academy 1958-61).

Condolence from Louise Anlyan Harris on February 4th, 2016 3:14 pm

Dear Kathy,
Thank you so much for your lovely words about our father. It is wonderful to hear how others thought so highly of him. Many, many thanks and best wishes.

Condolence from Jean W. Berry on February 4th, 2016 8:51 am

Sorry to hear of Dr. Anlyan’s death. My prayers are with Bill, Jr. Peter and Louise and their family members. I worked for Dr. Anlyan for 12 years. He was a great man whom I remember fondly and respected. I enjoyed knowing his children. I know of all the good things he did and accomplished. Good luck to all.

Condolence from Louise Anlyan Harris on February 4th, 2016 3:15 pm

Dear Jean,
Thank you so much for your good wishes. So nice to hear from you! We are celebrating his life this weekend with beautiful music and memories.

I hope that you are well.

Best to you and yours,
Louise and the family

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