Former VP of Medical Affairs dies at 91

April 12, 2011, 2:00 a.m.

Lance Crowley, former vice president of medical affairs, died March 30 at the age of 91 after nearly half a century of service to the Stanford University Medical Center.

Crowley was born on July 2, 1919 in Newark, N.J., and attended college and medical school at Yale University. He served his surgical internship and residency at Yale New Haven Hospital, and, following a stint as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II, served a vascular surgery fellowship at Emory University.

He first came to Stanford in 1964, when surgery department chair Robert Chase recruited him to be chief of surgery at the new Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital. He went on to fill other administrative roles and became the medical school’s associate dean for planning until he left in 1973 to be the dean of the University of Wisconsin medical school.

When he returned to Stanford in 1977 to be deputy dean, he worked to solve the school’s deep financial and political problems and became dean two years later. The next year, then-president Donald Kennedy chose Crowley to fill the post of vice president.

Under Crowley’s leadership, the medical center won Palo Alto’s approval to modernize. This project led to a four-story expansion of the existing building, which housed 11 patient care units; a new surgical suit; improved pharmacy, clinical lab and radiology services and more space for materials management.

After he resigned from his vice president post in 1986, Crowley started on what his wife said was his proudest accomplishment — helping create Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. He became chair of the children’s hospital after the death of Lucile Packard, who had previously held that position, in 1987. Today, the hospital is the newest hospital in the top 10 children’s hospitals rated by U.S. News & World Report.

In addition to praise from his colleagues, Crowley was also honored with several awards, including the Dean’s Medal in 2009, the Certificate of Merit from the American Cancer Society, a Stanford University Distinguished Service Award and an endowed professorship created in his name.

A memorial service for Crowley will be held at 3 p.m. on April 21 at Memorial Church.

— Ivy Nguyen

Login or create an account