Stuart Jamieson, UCSD cardiothoracic surgeon, received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor May 10 at a black-tie gala in the Great Hall on Ellis Island, N.Y.
Former recipients include Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Muhammad Ali, Barbara Walters, Donald Trump and Lee Iacocca.
Because of a civil war in his homeland of Zimbabwe, Jamieson left Africa for London, England, in the mid-1960s. He attended the University of London while waiting tables and “went to bed hungry every night for five years” in order to put his earnings toward medical education. Jamieson said he was always fascinated by heart transplantation and, in 1978, secured a rare fellowship position with preeminent heart surgeon Norman Shumway of Stanford University, who performed the nation’s first heart transplant.
Today, Jamieson is an internationally acclaimed surgeon, who has advanced the field of heart and lung transplantation. Jamieson’s success rate is among the highest in the world.
"I am honored to be added to this distinguished list of names. Previous honorees have brought their expertise and influenced others in so many diverse areas of life, it’s really outstanding,” Jamieson said in a press release issued by the university.
The Ellis Island Medal of Honor was established in 1986 by the National Coalition of Organizations (NECO) “to pay tribute to the ancestry groups that make up America’s unique cultural mosaic.”
UCSD Medical Center brought Jamieson and his entire team to San Diego in 1988 to head up its new Heart and Lung Transplant Center.
Both the United States Senate and House of Representatives have officially passed resolutions recognizing the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, which ranks among this country’s most prestigious awards. Each year, Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients are listed in the Congressional Record, honoring those who have made enduring contributions to our nation and to the world.