Dr. Frank C. Spencer, UNT alumni, educational advocate, Master Surgeon, and the 32-year chair of the Department of Surgery at NYU School of Medicine, has passed away at 92 years old. He was considered among his peers to be "one of the most important surgeons of the third quarter of the 20th century." His professional contributions to the medical field and personal efforts to help young students achieve greatness will be remembered by all who were affected by his generosity and kindness.
Frank Cole Spencer was born in a country farmhouse in Haskell, Texas in 1925. His family's work ethic was instilled in Dr. Spencer at a young age, enabling him to excel in his studies when enrolled as a chemistry major at the University of North Texas (which at the time was named North Texas State University) at the age of 15. He was the youngest freshman at the University. Just two and a half years later, at 17 years old, Dr. Spencer graduated and entered Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, followed by an internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. This was just the beginning a long and extraordinary career in surgery, specifically cardiac surgery, and over his lifetime, Dr. Spencer saved thousands of lives.
Dr. Spencer also made many financial contributions to UNT and other educational institutions, including the College of Science's endowed Frank C. Spencer Rural Student Scholarship, which he established in 2005. According to Dr. Spencer, "My good fortune evolved from very modest circumstances in the farming country of Western Texas. It resulted from the combination of access to good education, good teachers, and a lot of hard work." His graciousness in giving back to UNT has resulted in dozens of students receiving the scholarship to succeed in their science and math degrees, and new students will continue to be awarded this scholarship for many years to come.
On behalf of UNT's College of Science students, faculty, and staff, we send our deepest condolences to his daughters and his grandchildren, as well as the many friends and colleagues grieving the loss of this exceptional man.
Contributions may be made to honor the legacy of Dr. Spencer via the Frank C. Spencer Rural Student Scholarship. Contact Megan Dours at the College of Science Development Office at (940) 369-5320 to discuss your gift.
(Photo credit: Oscar & Associates, Chicago, IL)