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Alumni Feature 1

Frank Adair, Class of 1910

Surgeon, Cancer Specialist

Frank Adair

Following graduation from Marietta College in 1910, Dr. Frank E. Adair, a native of Beverly, Ohio, received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University. During his 60-year career as a cancer specialist, he performed more than 17,000 operations and trained more than 1,000 surgeons.

Following service in France as a staff surgeon with the U.S. Army in World War I, Dr. Adair joined New York City's Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases, working in its newly established breast cancer services. As an executive officer of the hospital, he helped develop the clinical area of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. Dr. Adair was attending surgeon at Memorial until 1952, when he was appointed attending surgeon emeritus, retiring in 1974. As a member of the Sloan-Kettering research team, Dr. Adair studied the influence of hormones on breast cancer development. He often reiterated his belief that "cancer should never be considered as an incurable disease" and lobbied to establish federal support for national cancer programs, serving as president of the American Cancer Society and Chairman of the Cancer Committee of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Adair served on the Marietta College Board of Trustees from 1937 to 1966 and as Emeritus Trustee until his death in 1981. He founded the College's Adair Prize to be awarded annually to an outstanding graduate. Dr. Adair received an honorary Doctor of Science degree in 1934 from Marietta College and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1947.