Donald Horney - Doctorate: Biochemistry, 1967

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I entered graduate school at UT Austin as a teaching assistant in 1962 after the kind chairman of the admissions committee at Northwestern University told me that if I made a good adjustment to graduate school, I would have no trouble getting into medical school the following year.

After a straight-A first semester, I did have trouble getting into medical school–change in admissions committee chair, miscommunication, etc.–and no professor in the UT department wanted to take me as a Master’s candidate while awaiting acceptance to medical school.

I was told that if I were to pursue a Ph.D., attitudes would change. Chair W.S. asked my top 3 choices of Prof. Lester J. Reed (who, I later learned, had 7 postdoctoral fellows and no graduate student) was number one, he told me I would have to give up my medical school ambition to work in his lab. I agreed, then the next year he asked if I would like to interview with a visiting UT medical school professor! I did, but didn’t quite meet the upper 10% academic undergraduate record required for out-of-state applicants.

Lester provided the environment I needed to develop research skills which later bore fruit with a NSF summer fellowship at I.I.T. and a summer back at UT in Lester’s lab, as well as independent projects. After teaching and clinical chemistry, I completed a Ph.D. to M.D. program, recently retiring as medical director of a prison medical clinic.

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