Dr. L. Michael Brunt would like to see the University of Mississippi equipped to attract the best doctoral candidates in the southeast and across the nation who will go on to impact students through their teaching careers.
Dr. Brunt, who is the Pruett Professor of Surgery and section chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, made an $80,000 gift to create the H. Dale Abadie Ph.D. Graduate Student Stipend Endowment to honor his former professor and to provide annual graduate stipends for deserving students in the Department of History within UM’s College of Liberal Arts.
Dr. Brunt said he appreciates the professors and mentors who have shaped his own career and is grateful for the opportunity to teach some of the “brightest, most highly motivated young people in the world” at Washington University.
“That’s really what keeps me going from day to day and year to year,” said the professor, who developed a skills course for fourth-year medical students entering surgical residencies that evolved into a required Capstone course. “You can impact many more people when you’re involved in education and training than you can one on one as an individual physician. This is extra special work because you get to prepare future generations.”
The biology major, who graduated in 1976, enjoyed Abadie-led classes during his undergraduate years at Ole Miss.
“Dr. Abadie was an inspirational teacher and role model and probably had the most influence on me of any faculty member at Ole Miss,” the alumnus said. “As a freshman, I took his European history class, and his unique teaching style was incredibly engaging, as he related stories of individuals who helped direct the course of history. As a senior, I did an independent study project with Dr. Abadie, where our small group learned about some of the challenges of the Reformation Period.
“What I would love to see more than anything is for this endowment to be the start of many more that donors create to help make Ole Miss more competitive for the best graduate student candidates in the country. In the long term that will help in the continued development of high-quality future faculty members.”
Dale Abadie is dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and professor emeritus of history.
“I am profoundly honored and deeply humbled to learn of the History Graduate Student Stipend Endowment in my name created by Dr. Michael Brunt,” said Abadie. “His generosity is especially valuable at a time when state support for higher education is declining nationally and departments such as history are hard pressed to compete for outstanding graduate students, our historians of the future.
“Dr. Brunt was an outstanding undergraduate at the University of Mississippi and an active participant in a full range of academic and extracurricular activities before beginning his medical studies at Johns Hopkins University.”
Dr. Brunt originally created the H. Dale Abadie Summer Research Award Fund in 2016, which became the Abadie Graduate Student Stipend Fund in 2017.
In addition to the history classes, Dr. Brunt recalled the impact of other meaningful classes, including those on William Shakespeare, William Faulkner and art history.
“I received a solid, broad-based liberal arts education that has carried me well in my professional career and in life,” he said. “I was a Carrier Scholar and being part of the Carrier group and the Honors Program right off the bat provided some educational experiences that enabled me to be competitive in applying to John Hopkins for medical school.”
Dr. Brunt played sports, played music and liked to do things with his hands, which naturally attracted him to surgery.
“In addition, you can have a very tangible impact on patients’ lives and health, while getting immediate results. It’s especially rewarding and interesting,” he said.
Lee Cohen, dean of UM’s College of Liberal Arts, praised Dr. Brunt’s generosity and vision.
“Michael Brunt continues to enjoy an outstanding career helping patients and preparing the next generation of surgeons. We are grateful for the value he places on teaching and for the investment he has made to recruit talented students to our graduate program in history,” the dean said.
Dr. Brunt, a native of Kosciusko, Mississippi, who was a member of the Delta Psi fraternity and of the Pride of the South marching band for four years, two of those serving as drum major, returns to campus every couple of years.
“Every time I come back to Ole Miss, there’s a flood of memories of things that I did there. Ole Miss is the kind of place that engenders an incredibly deep-seated affection in your heart forever about the time you spent there,” he said.
Dr. Brunt is past president of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (2014-15), where he initiated and led the SAGES Safe Cholecystectomy initiative and multi-society consensus conference on prevention of bile duct injury. He is a past president of the Central Surgical Association and is immediate past president of the Fellowship Council that oversees Advanced GI Surgical Fellowship training.
Dr. Brunt has over 160 peer-reviewed publications, 95 chapters/review articles and 20 movies, including a documentary film he produced and directed on the life of George Berci, the “father of laparoscopy.” He has served as team surgeon for the 2019 Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues hockey team for the last 28 years and a significant part of his practice involves treating collegiate and professional athletes with sports-related groin injuries from across the U.S. and Canada.
Dr. Brunt has received the Distinguished Clinician Award from the Washington University School of Medicine, the Philip J. Wolfson Outstanding Teacher Award from the Association for Surgical Education, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Johns Hopkins University. He is annually listed in the Best Doctors in America and Guide to America’s Top Surgeons.
Dr. Brunt is married to Dr. Elizabeth Brunt, an internationally recognized liver pathologist who recently retired as professor and section chief of Liver and GI Pathology at Washington University. The couple has two sons and three granddaughters.
Individuals and organizations can click the endowment name to make an online gift to the H. Dale Abadie Ph.D. Graduate Student Stipend Endowment. Or mail a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the fund’s name noted on the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.
To learn how you can create a similar fund, contact Delia Childers, associate director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-3086.
By Tina H. Hahn/UM Development