From the summer 2018 issue of The Spirit of Washington University
While a student at Washington University, Trustee Emeritus George Bauer, BS ’53, MS ’59, considered a career as a physician. He even worked part time as an orderly at Jewish Hospital. Then he encountered the 650 Magnetic Drum Data Processing Machine, one of IBM’s first computers. He taught himself to program and used the computer to write his engineering master’s thesis.
“It just blew me away,” Mr. Bauer says. “So when IBM offered me a job, I couldn’t turn it down.”
Although he didn’t attend medical school, Mr. Bauer and his wife, Carol, have provided significant leadership and support to hospitals in their community, and they recently made a $5 million commitment to Washington University that will expand their impact on human health. The gift will establish and endow the George and Carol Bauer Deanship in the School of Medicine. Income from the endowment will enable the current dean and his successors to invest in the medical school’s highest priorities and advance a bold vision for biomedical research.
David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine since 2015, will be appointed the inaugural George and Carol Bauer Dean. A national leader in academic medicine with more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Perlmutter is spearheading the School of Medicine’s personalized medicine initiative to revolutionize medical research and patient care. He is particularly interested in a promising new area of personalized medicine research that focuses on slowing age-dependent degeneration by targeting and enhancing autophagy, a clean-up process that occurs within cells.
Mrs. Bauer’s interest in health care began more than 40 years ago, when she started volunteering at Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, Connecticut. Her involvement led to her tenure as president of the hospital’s board and later her training and 15 years of service as a chaplain. She also has served nearly 20 years as a board member for Americares, an international health-focused relief and development organization. Mr. Bauer, who retired from successful careers with IBM and as an investment banker, currently is a board member for Norwalk Hospital and the Western Connecticut Health Network.
“We see what’s going on in hospitals and health care in the United States,” Mrs. Bauer says. “We understand the importance of the deanship and all that Washington University School of Medicine is doing in its work as a leading research institution.”
Mr. and Mrs. Bauer are longtime supporters of Washington University. They have provided generous gifts for scholarships and an endowed fund that offers emergency assistance to students. They established the George and Carol Bauer Professorship in Organizational Ethics and Governance at Olin Business School in 2007 and made a $10 million gift through their family foundation in 2011 to help expand facilities at Olin with the construction of Bauer Hall. In 2016, they launched the George and Carol Bauer Leadership Center at the business school with a $5 million gift.
“Carol’s dad was an electrician, and my parents were farmers,” Mr. Bauer says. “We are fortunate to have resources that our parents never did. We support Washington University because we believe it will put the blessings we have been given to good use.”
Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton says, “I am profoundly grateful to George and Carol Bauer for the breadth and depth of their commitment to Washington University. The George and Carol Bauer Deanship will build on a history of exceptional leadership at the medical school and bolster the efforts of Dean Perlmutter and future deans as they seek to advance the science of human health and the practice of compassionate health care.”
—By Libby Dowdall