Dr. Ronald Warnick Honored with Tew Chair in Neurosurgical Oncology

From left, Ronald Warnick, MD, Wally Pagan, and John M. Tew, MD, at the Tew Chair celebration at the Queen City Club. Photo by Tonya Hines / Mayfield Clinic.

The community that raised $2 million to create the John M. Tew, Jr., MD, Chair in Neurosurgical Oncology was sincerely thanked last Friday with a memorable evening highlighted by tributes, memories and pledges of stewardship.

Attending the event were more than 100 dignitaries, donors and supporters of the Tew Chair, which was awarded to Ronald Warnick, MD, Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiation Oncology and Medical Director of the UC Brain Tumor Center at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, one of four institutes of the UC College of Medicine and UC Health.

The chair, a tribute to Dr. Tew, Professor of Neurosurgery, Radiology and Surgery at UC and Clinical Director of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, was announced by Mario Zuccarello, MD, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Frank H. Mayfield Chair for Neurological Surgery. The chair is an endowment at the UC College of Medicine that will fuel research in brain cancer and brain metastasis in perpetuity.

“Tonight we gather here to acknowledge that we owe you an enormous debt of appreciation,” Dr. Tew told the audience. “We want to assure you that your hopes and the expectations that you have entrusted to us will be continuously respected by our extraordinary team of experts – experts who share your hope and passion for the future of science.”

Dr. Tew said he wished to honor all those who donated financially to the Tew Chair’s endowment as well as “all the people who give of their talents, their resources, their efforts, their wisdom every day.”

UC Trustee Ginger Warner read a proclamation from Governor John Kasich.

Ginger Warner, a University of Cincinnati Trustee and friend of the Brain Tumor Center, read a proclamation from Ohio Governor John Kasich in which he recognized Dr. Warnick as the John M. Tew Chair, commended him for his commitment and dedication, and expressed his certainty that “you will change many lives in the coming years.”

James Kingsbury, President and CEO of UC Health, described Dr. Tew as a thinker who envisioned a neuroscience institute built on centers of excellence that could serve the entire region. He said the UC Comprehensive Stroke Center, headed by Joseph Broderick, MD, which serves 26 area hospitals, was the best example of expanding the center concept to the region.

The center concept today, he said, is central to UC Health’s interdisciplinary focus and to its conviction that, as the region’s only academic health center, “it should make an impact on all other hospitals and practices.”

Mr. Kingsbury also praised Dr. Tew for ushering in a new generation of leaders, including Dr. Warnick. “Instead of developing the Brain Tumor Center himself, John said, ‘Ron Warnick, I want you to develop the center.’ John mentored him, encouraged him, and supported him … assisted him in how to develop an advisory council and how to raise funds, how to put together a business plan. So John began another legacy of not just doing things, but of helping train new leaders to do great things.”

John Hutton, MD

In another reflection, John Hutton, MD, Dean Emeritus of the UC College of Medicine, praised Dr. Tew for his “uncanny ability to spot and develop young talent.” That talent included Dr. Warnick, who was a rising young neurosurgeon when he caught Dr. Tew’s eye.

“I was a brain tumor fellow at the University of California San Francisco with a job offer from the University of Pennsylvania,” Dr. Warnick recalled. “Just before signing the contract, I received a call from John Tew. It was the sheer force of his personality that persuaded me to visit Cincinnati. I arrived in 1991, and since then we have worked side by side on many important projects in neurosurgery and neuro-oncology.”

A central tenet of the UC Brain Tumor Center is teamwork. From diagnosis through treatment and recovery, patients are evaluated and cared for by a multidisciplinary team. In keeping with that core value, Dr. Warnick recognized his colleagues “in the Mayfield Clinic, the UC Brain Tumor Center and the Community Advisory Council,” many of whom were in attendance, and thanked them for their support and guidance. He also thanked his patients, “whose courage and spirit are constant sources of inspiration.”

To the community that had entrusted him with the Tew Chair, Dr. Warnick concluded, “I’m going to work tirelessly to exceed your expectations … I will make you proud.”

— Cindy Starr

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