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April 04. 2012 1:13PM

Dartmouth now has a Geisel School of Medicine

HANOVER –The legacy of children’s author and illustrator Theodor “Ted” Geisel lives on through his books and the movie adaptions that have followed through his pseudonym Dr. Seuss.

Today Dartmouth College announced it has renamed its medical school after Geisel, a 1925 Dartmouth graduate, and his wife, Audrey, cementing a philanthropic legacy for his birth.

Dartmouth Medical School, founded in 1797, will now be known as the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, the college said in a press release Wednesday morning.

“Ted would be proud to have his name forever connected to one of America’s finest schools of medicine … a school that’s doing much good in the world,” said Audrey Geisel, who was married to Ted from 1968 until his death in 1991. “Given my background as a nurse, this moving gesture on the part of Dartmouth joins Ted’s great love of his alma mater and my passion of caring for others through the practice of medicine.”

The honor acknowledges the couple’s generosity to Dartmouth both during Geisel’s life as well as through his estate, and that has made the Geisels the most significant philanthropist to Dartmouth in its history.

“Naming our school of medicine in honor of Audrey and Ted Geisel is a tribute to two individuals whose work continues to change the world for the better,” said Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim. “Ted Geisel lived out the Dartmouth ethos of thinking differently and creatively to illuminate the world’s challenges and the opportunities for understanding and surmounting them. His vivid storytelling — with its whimsical imagery, fanciful phrasing, and deeper meaning — lives on and raises children’s literacy around the world to new heights by entertaining, amusing, and educating. Audrey and Ted Geisel have cared deeply for this institution, and we are enormously proud to announce this lasting partnership.”

According to Dartmouth, the dedication to the Geisels is going to “amplify support for medical students as they progress on the path to becoming physicians and scientists and accelerate the research aspirations of faculty. The exceptional benefaction of the Geisel family will support Dartmouth’s goal of becoming one of the top medical schools in the world for preparing physician leaders who will tackle the increasingly complex undertaking of transforming health care.”

Geisel was born March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Mass. He authored and illustrated more than 50 children’s books as Dr. Seuss, including the well-known classics “The Cat in the Hat,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”, “Horton Hears a Who!,” “The Lorax,” “The Sneetches,” and “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Geisel was the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, three Academy Awards, two Emmys, and two Peabody Awards for his literary creations.

In a 1975 interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Geisel said it was at Dartmouth where he “discovered the excitement of ‘marrying’ words to pictures.”

“I began to get it through my skull that words and pictures were Yin and Yang. I began thinking that words and pictures, married, might possibly produce a progeny more interesting than either parent,” he told Dartmouth Alumni Magazine.

Dartmouth was also where Geisel created and started using his nom de plume, Seuss. He wrote for and eventually became the editor-in-chief of Dartmouth’s humor magazine, The Jack-O-Lantern. After a party he organized for The Jack-O-Lantern staff during his senior year at Dartmouth drew the ire of the dean, Geisel was told to resign from all extracurricular activities, including the magazine.

“In order to continue work on The Jack-O-Lantern without the administration’s knowledge, Geisel began signing his work for the first time with the pen name ‘Seuss,’” the college said.

Audrey has been a longtime resident of La Jolla, Calif., where she has been deeply involved in numerous charities and organizations in the San Diego area, including the University of California at San Diego, the San Diego Council on Literacy, National Center for Family Literacy, La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe Theatres, San Diego Zoological Society, United Through Reading, and many others. She was recently awarded the prestigious UC San Diego Chancellor’s Medal, and was also recently honored by San Diego Business Journal with the “Women Who Mean Business” Lifetime Achievement Award.

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