The Investiture of Dr. James Chandler as the Lavin/Fates Professor

From left to right: Dean Harrison, president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare; Dr. Chandler; and Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean at Feinberg

“Four words come to mind when I think of Jim: competence, commitment, compassion, and character," said Robert C. Kern, MD, of his colleague, James P. Chandler, MD, who was formally invested as the Lavin/Fates Professor of Neurological Surgery on Friday, May 2. Dr. Kern is professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He served as one of Dr. Chandler’s extollers.

Dr. Kern

Dr. Chandler is co-director and surgical director of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI), and is the Rudy E. Sabbagha, MD, Distinguished Physician in Surgical Neuro-Oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He has performed over 3,500 successful brain tumor operations in his career. During his tenure as surgical director, he has worked to bring cutting-edge methods and expertise to the NBTI’s arsenal of diagnostic and brain tumor management techniques.

A Meaningful Gift

The Lavin/Fates Professorship in Neurological Surgery was created by the Lavin and Bernick families in honor of Bob Fates, a grateful patient of Dr. Chandler. Under the leadership of these two families, the Alberto Culver Company has become the classic American success story as it has grown from a single product line to become a global industry leader. Along with their success, these families have established a tradition of philanthropy both for themselves and the company with their generous support of individuals and institutions that search for new and innovative ways to make our community a better place.

Drs. Chandler and Ciric

Dr. Chandler has been Bob Fates’ guide, mentor, and friend during his long struggle with brain cancer. The Lavin and Bernick families attribute Bob’s improvement to both Dr. Chandler’s skills as a world-class neurosurgeon and the humanity he has brought to the treatment process.

“We hope this endowment will allow Dr. Chandler to share his gift with other patients and their families, as well as to continue searching for innovative breakthroughs in the fight against this terrible disease,” said Carol Bernick.

Patients First, Humanity Up Front

Ivan S. Ciric, MD, professor emeritus of neurological surgery at Northwestern, also served as an extoller for Dr. Chandler. “The reputation of our honoree’s neurosurgical prowess gradually extended far and wide to a point where he has become the neurosurgeon’s neurosurgeon, all along staying true to and embodying the grace and the highest ethical principles of our noble specialty.”

Dr. Ciric continued, “Besides his extraordinary skills as a neurosurgeon, Dr. Chandler’s ‘patient first and humanity up front’ approach to his vocation, in part borne out by his virtuous upbringing, have earned him the high esteem and the heartfelt gratitude of his patients, including tributes such as the one we witness tonight.”

A Resounding Impact

Drs. Chandler and Parsa

Andrew T. Parsa, MD, PhD, Michael J. Marchese Professor of Neurosurgery and chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Feinberg, called Dr. Chandler “a wonderful, exceptional person who has touched the lives of so many. This professorship is a fitting tribute to one who is making a real difference on a daily basis.”

Ever humble, as evidenced by the words of his colleagues and extollers, Dr. Chandler acknowledged his parents in the crowd. “Who I am is a reflection of their value system—one of compassion and generosity.”

He later turned to the rest of his family, friends, and colleagues who filled the space to standing-room-only: “Thank you all for contributing to who I am. This is a special moment in my life, and I am glad to share it with all of you.” 

“We hope this endowment will allow Dr. Chandler to share his gift with other patients and their families, as well as to continue searching for innovative breakthroughs in the fight against this terrible disease.”

- Carol Bernick