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Remembering Denton Cooley, a Heart Surgery Pioneer

Remembering Denton Cooley, a Heart Surgery Pioneer

The University of Texas at Austin mourns the loss of alumnus, supporter and world-renowned medical pioneer in heart surgery Dr. Denton Cooley (BA, 1941), who died at age 96.

Long before "what starts here changes the world" became the university's mantra, Cooley encompassed its essence. 

"Denton Cooley created new standards of care and drove changes in medicine that improved and saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients around the world," said Gregory L. Fenves, president of UT Austin. "The University of Texas prepares leaders who can benefit society and improve the world — none more so than Dr. Cooley, who continued to give back throughout his life. His legacy on campus and throughout the world will be felt for generations." 

A native of Houston, Cooley attended UT Austin on a basketball scholarship. Majoring in zoology, he graduated with highest honors as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He was later honored in 1966 with the Distinguished Alumnus Award and was inducted in the College of Natural Sciences' Hall of Honor in its first year.

After finishing his degree, Cooley attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and Johns Hopkins University. At Johns Hopkins, he was a part of the groundbreaking operation to correct an infant's heart, which helped pioneer modern heart surgery. He later conducted the world's first implantation of a wholly artificial heart. 

His heart surgery career lasted for more than 40 years and consisted of more than 120,000 open heart operations.

Of Cooley's many accomplishments, he often said he was most proud of the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, which he founded in 1962. The mission of the institute is to use education, research and improved patient care to decrease the devastating effects of cardiovascular disease.

Read more about Dr. Cooley's legacy:


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Wednesday, 28 October 2020

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