Provost Arthur Garson to Speak at U.Va.’s Fall Convocation Oct. 26, Kicking Off Family Weekend Activities

Oct. 11, 2007 – Executive Vice President and Provost Arthur Garson Jr., an internationally recognized pediatric cardiologist, national leader and author in the debate on United States health care policy and former dean of the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine, will be the keynote speaker at the 2007 Fall Convocation ceremony, on Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. in University Hall.

In discussing his talk, Garson said, "I am honored to be chosen to address this audience of such talented students, their professors and parents. I hope to take the recent work on the future of the University and put it into context at a personal level — mine and theirs.”

During the April announcement of Garson's appointment as provost, University President John T. Casteen III praised Garson as a teacher, researcher and administrator. “Tim Garson's leadership of the medical school, in particular his work on the Health System’s strategic planning effort, has been outstanding. He is a unique blend of visionary and strategic planner.”

After serving as dean of the School of Medicine from 2002 to 2007, Garson became executive vice president and provost on July 1. He also serves as co-chair of the Commission on the Future of the University, which was created in February to outline directions for the University for the next decade and beyond. "The theme of our 10-year plan is ‘further distinguishing the University,’ and one of my major goals as provost is to help implement that plan and to lay the groundwork for future achievements,” Garson said.

Fall Convocation, which officially opens U.Va.’s Family Weekend, recognizes undergraduate students for their academic excellence. Intermediate honors will be presented to the top 20 percent of students who earned at least 60 credits of course work at U.Va. during their first two years.

Also during convocation, Casteen will announce the recipient of this year’s Thomas Jefferson Award, U.Va.’s highest honor, given annually since 1955. The award recognizes a member of the University community who has exemplified in character, work and influence the principles and ideals of the University’s founder.

For information on Fall Convocation, visit or contact Pam Higgins, director of the Office of Major Events, at (434) 982-3099 or

Family Weekend, from Oct. 26 to 28, comprises a variety of events, including a University forum led by Casteen, faculty lectures, social gatherings and other activities. Learn more at

More on Fall Convocation speaker, Dr. Arthur Garson, Jr.

As provost, Garson is the University’s chief academic officer. He directs the academic administration of U.Va.'s 10 schools, as well as the University's library, art museum, three residential colleges, public service activities and numerous University centers. He also will help oversee the creation of the University’s newest school, the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He is responsible for foreign study, teaching and research at the University, including leading interdisciplinary initiatives and seeking philanthropic support for the $3 billion Campaign for the University of Virginia.

During Garson’s tenure as dean, the School of Medicine started a Master of Public Health program, the Academy of Distinguished Educators, the Center on Health Care Disparities, the Patient Education Institute and the Institute for Translational Research (a joint effort among several schools). Plans are under way for two laboratory research buildings, a medical education building, a clinical cancer building and a children’s hospital.

Garson has authored or co-authored over 400 scholarly publications, and eight books. His most recent book, “Health Care Half Truths: Too Many Myths, Not Enough Reality,” published in April, is just the latest example of his national leadership in academic medicine and health care policy. In addition to his academic work, his editorials and comments on national health care reform have been published in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Washington Post, among many other outlets. In 2006, he helped originate and draft the Health Partnership Act, a bill with bipartisan sponsors in both the U.S. Senate and House, designed to expand health care coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. The legislation would fund grants to states for innovations to improve coverage as well as health care quality and efficiency.

Garson's service on numerous statewide and national health care commissions has included two appointments by the White House – to a seat on the Advisory Panel on Health System Improvement in 2001, and to chair the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2003. He also served as president of the American College of Cardiology from 1999 to 2000.

Garson continues to see pediatric cardiology patients, especially those with heart rhythm problems and fainting, and he teaches on rounds and in conferences on sudden death in young patients and cost-effectiveness of medical care. He teaches an introductory master's-level health policy course.

Garson, 58, graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, in 1970 and received his M.D. from Duke University in 1974, remaining there for his pediatric residency. In 1979, he completed a pediatric cardiology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine and joined its faculty in 1985. He was named chief of pediatric cardiology in 1988. In 1992, he received a master’s degree in public health, specializing in health policy and health care finance, from the University of Texas in Houston.

Before coming to U.Va. in 2002 as vice president and dean of the School of Medicine, Garson held positions as associate vice chancellor of health affairs at Duke, senior vice president and dean for academic operations at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and vice president of Texas Children’s Hospital. Garson, a native of New York City, and his wife, Suzan, are the parents of two daughters, both of whom are planning careers in elementary education.