Denton Arthur Cooley was born in Houston, Texas, in 1920. After his surgical training
in Baltimore and London, he returned to his beloved Texas by joining the Baylor College
of Medicine in Houston in 1951. Since that time he has been a major force in the treatment
of cardiovascular disease in the world. He has contributed to the techniques for repair
and replacement of diseased heart valves and the aorta and its branches, and he is
widely known for his pioneering surgical treatment of cardiac anomalies in infants
and children. His publications number nearly 1,200. Dr. Cooley and his team have performed
over 90,000 open heart operations at his hospital. In 1962, he created the Texas Heart
Institute where he has trained over 600 surgeons who are now members of the Cooley
Cardiovascular Surgical Society. Dr. Cooley is a member or honorary member of over
50 professional societies around the world. He has received 68 honors and awards including
the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, the Theodore Roosevelt
Award given by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to a varsity athlete who
has achieved national recognition in his profession, and the Rene Leriche Prize, the
highest honor of the International Surgical Society for cardiovascular contributions.
He has received honorary degrees from 5 American Universities and from 3 foreign universities.
He has been married for 47 years to Louise Thomas Cooley; they have 5 daughters and
16 grandchildren. He enjoys spending time with his family at their ranch and at their
Galveston beach house. He has several hobbies and currently is hooked on golf. He
also is a nice guy with great capacity for friendship.
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