The University of Akron community mourns the recent passing of longtime benefactor and friend Dr. George Van Buren. Dr. Van Buren was a legendary figure in the life of the University, participating in its early growth as a student and graduating in 1935 with an undergraduate degree in biology. Dr. Van Buren earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and M.S. degree in surgery from The Ohio State University. His influence in the greater Akron community and his work as a University philanthropist, whose vision and resources continue to shape the training of current medical school students and others, will always be fondly appreciated. Dr. Van Buren passed away July 27, 2012.
A decorated patriot, World War II veteran, community leader and gifted physician, Dr. Van Buren had a brilliant medical career that spanned nearly 40 years. He served as a physician at Akron City Hospital, where he was Chief of Staff from 1969-71. Having personally benefitted from an Akron Public School education, Dr. Van Buren also served on the Akron Board of Education while maintaining a busy practice. As an intern at Akron Children’s Hospital, his empathy for the uninsured children under his care, many of whom suffered from osteomyelitis, led to his researching a pain-free, nonsurgical treatment of the disease. In 1941, Dr. Van Buren was honored by the American Medical Association and the American College of Orthopedic Surgeons for his successful breakthrough treatment.
Dr. Van Buren and his wife, Mary Van Buren, a 1939 UA graduate, have supported the University for more than 50 years, establishing four scholarship awards that provide wide-ranging scholarship assistance to deserving students. The scholarships include The Van Buren Akron Public High School Scholarship, The Van Buren NEOUCOM Scholarship (now known as Northeast Ohio Medical University), The Van Buren Medical School Scholarship, and The Mary Van Buren Scholarship, for students earning master’s degrees in education.
In addition to grateful colleagues and patients, Dr. Van Buren is survived by his wife, Mary; five children, Susan, Mary Beth, Charles, David and George; 15 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Susan, a three-time UA graduate is an attorney; Mary Beth, a mother of four, was a school teacher in several Ohio communities; and all three Van Buren sons are physicians.