Tulane Alumni Association




Dermot McGlinchey Lifetime Achievement Award 2010

Charles Byron Wilson, MD

Charles Byron Wilson, M.D., A&S ’51, M ‘54

San Franciscan Charles Wilson graduated summa cum laude from the College of Arts and Sciences of Tulane University. He received his medical and neurosurgical training at the Tulane University School of Medicine before obtaining faculty appointments at Tulane, Louisiana State University and the University of Kentucky. A pioneer in the surgery of pituitary tumors, Charles served as chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and director of the Brain Tumor Research Center at the University of California San Francisco beginning in 1968. He retired as chair of the department in 1994.

While continuing an active practice, Charles obtained a master’s degree in health administration and became a senior fellow at the Institute of The Future, a long-range forecasting organization in Menlo Park, Calif. His research involved emerging medical technologies, particularly those related to molecular genetics. He is the author of more than 600 scientific publications. Among other appointments, Charles held a term on the National Cancer Advisory Board. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine. For Tulane, he has served as a member of the President’s Council, the Leadership Committee, the Health Sciences Center Board of Governors and the Health Sciences Center 170th Anniversary Committee. 

Charles Byron Wilson was born in Neosho, Missouri in the heart of the Ozarks. His mother was a homemaker and his father a pharmacist and important member of the community. He grew up in Neosho and, in addition to being a good student, also played piano and high school football. Through the help of a family friend, his football prowess led to a scholarship at Tulane where he planned to enter either medicine or the ministry. His career as a halfback was relatively short-lived, however, and he settled for medicine, graduating first in the Tulane Medical School class of 1954. Following a rotating internship at Charity Hospital, he was encouraged to enter a neurosurgery residency by Dr. Dean Echols, the respected mentor of many Tulane neurosurgeons. While training to become a skilled neurosurgeon, Charlie sometimes used his musical talents to play piano in the French Quarter.

After completing his residency at Tulane, he joined the faculty briefly before becoming assistant professor of neurosurgery at LSU Medical School from 1961 to 1963. This was the beginning of an illustrious teaching career and he received the Best Teacher Award in 1963. That same year he moved to Lexington, Ky., and established the Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Kentucky. While at Kentucky, he received both the Outstanding Clinical Instructor and Outstanding Clinical Professor awards.

Dr. Wilson is a charismatic, scholarly, dedicated, and energetic leader and surgeon. He has contributed significantly to medical science and trained a large number of neurosurgeons who continue his tradition of excellence in research and patient care. 

In giving Charles Byron Wilson the Dermot McGlinchey Lifetime Achievement Award, Tulane University honors him for his dedication to his alma mater, for his foresight and strong support of neurological research and for enabling and encouraging so many young scientists and clinicians in the United States and abroad to carry on this work.

Alumni Relations, Tulane University, 6319 Willow Street, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5901