It is with a deep sense of loss and reverence that we announce the passing of our beloved Dr. George H. Rawls, MD who transitioned on May 16, 2020.
Dr. Rawls was a giant figure in Indianapolis. He distinguished himself not only as a trailblazing surgeon but as a highly respected community servant who committed himself to elevating the lives of others. His significant involvement with CLD is one example. Over sixteen years ago, CLD was privileged to collaborate with Eskenazi Health to start a program to expose African American students to the field of medicine and the health professions. The great honor for CLD, then and now, is that we were granted the privilege of placing Dr. Rawls’ name on the program—the Rawls Scholars Medicine Initiative. Understanding just how much Dr. Rawls has distinguished himself as surgeon, scholar, family patriarch, mentor, leader, philanthropist and community servant, CLD has always tried to honor the gravity and responsibility that comes with offering a program that bears Dr. Rawl’s name. As I often shared with Dr. Rawls,”Thank you for allowing CLD the esteemed privilege of using your name on our program.”
My cherished memory will always be the class, dignity, bearing and stately eloquence of Dr. Rawls as he addressed the participants enrolled in the program bearing his name. My second memory will be these same participants, many of them future healthcare professionals, standing in line to receive from Dr. Rawls, an autographed copy of his book, “So You Want to be a Doctor.” This indelible image will always stand to me as a powerful symbol of Dr. Rawls bequeathing to future generations, his rich legacy of hard work, determination and excellence. He is the personification of CLD’s Principles for Success.
Even as CLD mourns Dr. Rawls’ passing, we continue drawing inspiration from his exceptional life and example. Our prayers and condolences go out to Ms. Lula Rawls and to the entire Rawls family. We will miss Dr. Rawls immensely; however, we look forward to upholding his name and legacy through the Rawls Scholars Medicine Initiative for years to come.
Dennis E. Bland, CLD ’82
President, Center for Leadership Development