Gift Will Endow UB Lectureship in Medical Education

By Mary Cochrane

Release Date: March 12, 2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Oliver P. "O.P." Jones, M.D., the widely beloved professor who inspired awe and sometimes trepidation in generations of anatomy students at the University at Buffalo, will be remembered in a lectureship created in his honor through the generosity of a former student and his spouse.

Daljit S. Sarkaria, M.D. '57, and his wife, Elaine Sarkaria, Ed.D., have given $200,000 to the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to create the Oliver P. "O.P." Jones, M.D., '56, Endowed Lectureship in Medical Education. UB hopes to attract world-renowned speakers to address emerging trends in medical education through the series.

Nancy Nielsen, M.D., president-elect of the American Medical Association and senior associate dean of medical education in the UB medical school, will deliver the inaugural lecture for the series later this year. Details on the date and place of the lecture will be available closer to the event.

The Jones lectureship honors a medical pioneer who taught at UB for more than 30 years in the Department of Medicine, from 1937-71. An internationally regarded expert in the field of hematology, Jones was a pioneer in the use of the electron microscope in morphological studies of blood.

Daljit Sarkaria, who earned a doctorate in 1948 from Cornell University, said he hopes the lectureship will memorialize his former teacher while enhancing the medical education of UB students.

"Dr. Jones was one of my best teachers. He was committed to teaching medicine on a personal level," Sarkaria said. "We are happy to be able to create this lectureship in support of excellence in teaching, research and patient care."

Following graduation from the UB medical school in 1957, Sarkaria entered residency training at UCLA Medical School. He served for 22 years with La Mirada Hospital as a pathologist and supervising clinical laboratories. He and his wife are retired and reside in Orange, Calif.

The Sarkarias have given generously to higher education and medicine, establishing endowed faculty chairs at Cornell University and UCLA, and supporting the Mayo Clinic. Three of their five children have pursued careers in medicine.

"We are grateful to the Sarkarias for their generous gift to the medical school," said Michael E. Cain, M.D., dean of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "Dr. Jones believed in the value of education and its role in building purposeful lives. The Sarkarias' gift recognizes and honors his role in creating a legacy of teaching and research that reflects the school's past, present and future, and helps UB to ensure that patient-centered teaching remains at the core of our programs."

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and School of Public Health and Health Professions are the five schools that constitute UB's Academic Health Center. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.