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OU College of Medicine Alumni Association Honors Chaplain, Two Surgeons During Annual Awards

OU College of Medicine Alumni Association Honors Chaplain, Two Surgeons During Annual Awards

Published: Thursday, May 9, 2019

OU Medicine's longtime chaplain and children's advocate, Danny Cavett, was among three people honored recently by the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine Alumni Association.

Cavett, along with OU Medicine orthopedic surgeon Charles Pasque, M.D., and retired Norman surgeon William C. "Bill" McCurdy, M.D., were honored during Alumni Reunion Day festivities May 3. Each year, the OU College of Medicine Alumni Association honors two alumni - one in academic medicine, one in private practice - as well as a "Friend of Medicine" who has contributed to the health and well-being of Oklahomans.

Cavett, director of the pastoral care team for OU Medicine, was presented the Friend of Medicine Award. Cavett came to OU Medicine more than 40 years ago and now leads a group of 11 chaplains who support patients, loved ones and hospital employees around the clock.

Cavett also is known far beyond OU Medicine for his children's camps. In 1997, he launched Camp Cavett, which welcomed more than 100 children experiencing illness to the inaugural summer camp. Since then, the effort has transitioned to Cavett Kids Foundation, which sponsors five annual camps that make a difference in the lives of 12,000 children and their families. The children's diagnoses include leukemia, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, Crohn's disease and others, but they find common ground in attending camps where their illnesses don't define who they are.

"Danny Cavett's presence at OU Medicine over the last 40 years has allowed us to provide a level of personal pastoral care to thousands of people," said Chuck Spicer, CEO of OU Medicine. "He and his team of chaplains provide pastoral care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and their kindness and compassion is so important to the families we serve. His impact has been felt well beyond the walls of the hospitals through his continued work with Camp Cavett. Danny is a life-changer."

The Physician of the Year-Academic Medicine honor was presented to Pasque, a professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at the OU College of Medicine. Pasque serves as director of the residency program, as well as director of research and sports medicine. He takes trauma calls for the Level 1 Trauma Center at OU Medical Center, and he sees patients for OU Physicians as a general orthopedic surgeon with a sports medicine emphasis.

His medical expertise and service extend far beyond campus as well. He serves as a team physician with OU's Athletic Department, and he is a captain in the United States Navy Reserve with more than 25 years of service, including three overseas deployments.

"Dr. Pasque has an incredible sense of integrity and patriotism," said J. Andy Sullivan, M.D., clinical professor and former chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation. "He spent long, grueling hours taking care of severely injured service members who would have died in previous conflicts."

The Physician of the Year-Private Practice award was presented to Norman resident and retired surgeon William C. "Bill" McCurdy III. He is the third generation in a family of physicians, a legacy that began when his grandfather arrived in Purcell in 1903 to practice medicine.

After McCurdy graduated from medical school and residency, he went to Vietnam, where he served as chief of surgery. Upon returning home, he established his general surgery practice in Norman and also went to his father's practice in Purcell once a week to perform surgeries. Altogether, he practiced medicine 40 years. His cousin, Rick McCurdy, M.D., joined him for 27 of those years, and continues that surgical practice today.

"He was my hero growing up across the street from him in Purcell," Rick McCurdy said. "We always got along great, and still do. He had an excellent bedside manner, and he always maintained his calm in the operating room. He deserves Physician of the Year. As far as I'm concerned, he's the physician of all years. I think that much of him."