College of Medicine: The Rounds Newsletter

Dean’s Message – Winter 2024

College of Medicine Dean Andrew Filak, Jr., MD

College of Medicine Dean Andrew Filak, Jr., MD

Dear College of Medicine Alumni,

When I think of the College of Medicine, I immediately think of the people who are the college; our thousands of alumni and those who are current students, the faculty and the staff. They are the strength and the heart of what makes our College of Medicine special and indispensable to our community. Each person has an unwavering desire to improve the world and a passion to help those who need assistance. They are committed to their patients and to their colleagues, they support each other every day no matter how difficult the task. They are truly remarkable.

Back in 1957, a pillar of the College of Medicine started her journey with us. She soon moved from supporting faculty to dedicating her life to assisting the college’s medical students. During the ensuing 60-plus years, more than 6,000 medical students have graduated, and I would imagine that almost all were impacted in some way by IvaDean Lair. As registrar and assistant dean of student affairs during most of that time, she was a guiding light, especially in times of turmoil for students. She offered wise council, a motherly smile and a never-ending supply of treats and snacks to hungry students. The Class of 2003 offered their gratitude by creating the IvaDean Medical Student Scholarship Fund. Since then, alumni, faculty and others have shared their generosity by growing the fund to more than $7 million. Over 200 medical students have received the IvaDean Medical Student Scholarship, continuing the legacy of her incredible impact.

This past October, we gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the IvaDean Scholarship and, more importantly, to honor IvaDean for all she has meant to so many of us. It was heartwarming to see the many alumni, students, faculty and staff share their love and respect for IvaDean and the sense of family that she created, which still exists at the college.

The strong bonds between each of us and the yearning to create a better world are just as strong today as when IvaDean first began her career here. The desire to provide compassionate care and the affinity to teach and train our young medical professionals to positively impact lives is part of our ethos. We are building on this foundation with the latest technologies to improve our teaching, our research and our patient care. We are revising our curriculum to help our students better prepare for their residencies and become even better physicians. Each day, we continue to do everything we can to provide a better experience for our students.

At the heart of it all are the people and the unbreakable, lifelong connections they make with each other that matter the most. I have seen this throughout my 46 years here at the College of Medicine and I proudly continue to see it every day. Thank you for staying connected with your College of Medicine.


Andrew T. Filak Jr., MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and
Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean
College of Medicine

Headshot of Briana Coggins, A&S '10, '20

Briana Coggins, A&S '10, '20

Director, Alumni Engagement, College of Medicine