Link: University of Iowa

Information About


Alumni Interview

Charles Edward Hawtrey, M.D.

Portrait

(61MD, 67R-Urology)

What is your hometown?

I really did not have a hometown in the classic sense because my father was an Episcopal Clergy. We moved about every four years, so that we had residence in three towns in Wisconsin followed by five locations in Iowa. I attended high school in Fort Madison, Iowa where I received an exceptional pre-college education. My parents were financially poor but intellectually rich and lovingly broad minded. My three brothers and I were the recipients of unconditional love. We were given interesting life commandments like "Comparisons (about other people) are odious." "Education will provide liberation." You can learn many things from employment and hard work."

What is your official title?

Professor Emeritus, Department of Urology, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

How/when did you become interested in science and medicine?

When I was in fifth grade, my vision became impaired by myopia. I was fitted with wire rime glasses but was embarrassed to wear them and consequently was a mediocre student. "Only sissies wear glasses" was my prejudice. As a sophomore in High School, Ms. Genevieve Berry recognized my disability and quietly suggested that I sit in the front row in class and put on my glasses. Ms. Berry suggested that my classmates could not see the glasses through the "thickness" of my head! My grades in all subjects rose to A's and B's. Ms. Berry saved my life and she and Mr. Schenken in chemistry encouraged my intellectual growth. Two years later with liberal scholarship and summer earned income; I matriculated to Grinnell College 1953-1957. I entered college thinking I would be a chemical engineer.

What interested you to pursue a career in medicine and medical education?

Grinnell College was a broadening experience for me as there were required reading and writing courses that asked me to consider the value systems of my youth. My professors encouraged intellectual growth around philosophy essays and history paper stimulated by marginal notes. Discourse interchange was a pleasant addition to the educational experience in small classes so that I had enough course hours for a minor in history. The chemistry-zoology course work confirmed my interest in science, but I found that "test tube" science while interesting was generally separated from human interaction. So medical science had an appeal related to seeing humanity get well. Growing up in small town Iowa where there were Hispanic and African American ghettos, clearly demonstrated the need for medical care for disadvantaged souls. In hospital experience was not possible for me, as I needed to earn $500 dollars a summer to continue my education at Grinnell. Even though the costs at Grinnell remained at $1440 all four years I was a student, employment and earning laundry and book money was an essential need all four undergraduate years. Summing up I was probably one of the most naïve students coming to Iowa.

Please highlight your major career achievements, awards, discoveries, etc.

I was honored to be the first elected secretary of the North Central Section of the American Urological Association 1987-1989, and President of the Section in 1991-1992. I served the parent AUA as chairman of the Terminology Committee 1992-1999 and received the Distinguished Service Award from the AUA in 1999 and the Golden Cane Award in 2001. Here at Iowa, I was elected to Alpha-Omega-Alpha in 1992 and received the Ernest Thielen Award in 1995.

Contact

Medicine Alumni Society
medicine-alumni@uiowa.edu
Phone: 319-335-8886
Toll Free: 877-MEDIOWA
Fax: 319-384-1746