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Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc. 2005; 116: lx–lxiii.
PMCID: PMC1473135

ROBERT QUARLES MARSTON, M.D.

1923–1999
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Robert Quarles Marston, physician, scholar and educator died in Hospice in Gainesville, Florida on March 14, 1999. His personal and professional contributions to Medicine, to many facets of education and to society were many. He is and will be continued to be missed by his loving family and his many friends and colleagues, including those in the Association.

Bob Marston was born in Toano, Virginia on February 12, 1923. He received his Bachelor's degree from Virginia Military Institute in 1943. He was awarded his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical College of Virginia in 1947. After graduating from medical school Bob left Virginia for Oxford where he served as a Rhodes Scholar. While at Oxford he worked in the laboratory of and studied under Sir Howard Florey, who with Sir Alexander Fleming and Ernest Chain had been awarded a Nobel Prize in 1945 for the development of penicillin. After his Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford Bob returned to the United States to begin his internship in Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. After his internship the Marstons moved to Nashville where he served a year's residency in Medicine at Vanderbilt University Hospital. Bob then took his first position at the National Institutes of Health, from 1951 to 1953, where he was stationed as a member of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, conducting research on the role of infection following total body irradiation. Bob completed his residency in Medicine during the following year at the Medical College of Virginia and then served on the faculty for three years as a Markle Scholar. Bob spent the next year as Assistant Professor of Bacteriology and Immunology at the University of Minnesota, after which he returned to the Medical College of Virginia in 1959 as Associate Professor of Medicine and as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.

In 1961, at the age of 38 years, Robert Marston was appointed Director of the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Dean of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. In 1965 he was appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of Mississippi. Bob returned to the National Institutes of Health in 1966 as an Associate Director of NIH and as the Director of the Institutes' newly established Division of Regional Medical Programs. In April 1968 under a departmental reorganization he was named Administrator of the Health Services and Mental Health Administration. On September 1, 1968 Bob Marston was appointed Director of the National Institutes of Health. He served as NIH Director for five years during which time the National Institutes of Health played an important role in implementation of landmark legislation directed to increase the nation's supply of well-trained health manpower. Bob provided important leadership enabling the strengthening of existing health professional schools and the establishment of a substantial number of new institutions directed towards that goal. During his appointment as Director of the National Institutes of Health he facilitated development of policies designed to assure the protection of human subjects in research. Robert Marston left the National Institutes of Health in April 1973. He was then appointed as a Scholar in Residence at the University of Virginia, at which time he was also named as the first Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.

In 1974 Robert Marston was named President of the University of Florida, a position in which he served with distinction for ten years. During his presidency, the University of Florida experienced enormous growth, becoming one of the nation's ten largest universities and one of the three most comprehensive universities in respect to academic programs. This growth was associated with significant enhancement of academic quality and research activity. During Bob Marston's presidency the University of Florida dramatically increased its private support and the development of its programs to attract National Merit and Achievement Scholars. After completion of his presidency in 1984 Bob was appointed as an Eminent Scholar at Virginia Military Institute, from which he had received his bachelor's degree and where he served later on the Institute's governing board. A year later he returned to the University of Florida, working with graduate students and conducting research and in presenting and publishing papers in his role as Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. After his term as President of the University of Florida Bob had developed strong interest and substantial expertise in aquaculture (specifically growing and farming trout). This proved to be very stimulating and gratifying for him, and even commercially rewarding.

During his career, Bob's publications ranged widely from his scholarly contributions in areas of infectious disease and undergraduate and graduate education to his co-editorship of the book “Medical Effects of Nuclear War” prepared for the National Academy of Sciences. He chaired the National Academy of Sciences Advisory Committee for the Clean Up of Three Mile Island. Bob Marston served as a leader in national educational and medical organizations. He served as President of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, as a Distinguished Service Member of the Association of the American Medical Colleges and as a two-term member of the governing board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Bob Marston received multiple awards and honorary degrees during his extraordinary professional career. Recognizing his many contributions to science at various national and international levels and to the University of Florida the University's Science Library was constructed and named in his honor.

As an individual, Bob Marston was exceptional. He possessed extraordinary academic instincts, coupled with wisdom and experience. He exuded enthusiasm and confidence, and encouraged confidence in others. He was blessed with a warm and gracious approach in his interactions with students, colleagues, friends and family. In spite of his substantial personal accomplishments and responsibilities Bob Marston radiated goodwill and approachability. He was highly principled, with strong views, optimism and a gentle firmness in striving to achieve important goals. With Bob, his family came first. An avid outdoorsman, Bob with his wife Ann and their children spent much of available time sailing, camping and swimming. Robert Quarles Marston. A scholar. A friend. A mentor. A visionary. An accomplished scientist and educator. We are thankful he was with us and grateful for knowing him.

Bob Marston's wife, Ann, who played such a crucial, gracious and effective role in their shared personal and professional lives died in July 1998. Bob Marston was survived by his three children, Ann Wright Peace, the Reverend Dr. Robert D. Marston and W. Wesley Marston and by six grandchildren.


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