The Pennsylvania State University ©1997

May 12, 2000


University Park, PA — Penn State’s Board of Trustees today (May 12) approved the appointment of Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., to the position of Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, Dean of the College of Medicine and Chief Executive Officer of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The appointment is effective July 1.

Dr. Kirch currently serves as Senior Vice President for Clinical Activities and Dean of the School of Medicine of the Medical College of Georgia. He succeeds Dr. C. McCollister Evarts, who announced in September that he would retire effective June 30, 2000.

"Darrell Kirch brings a truly outstanding record of accomplishment to this position," said Spanier. "He has a unique blend of skills and successes in graduate education, clinical research and hospital administration. We are very, very pleased that we could attract someone with his leadership ability and vision at this time of great challenge in academic medicine. Academic health centers will continue to be in the forefront of great advances in medicine, and I simply can't think of anyone who is better prepared to lead our medical center than Darrell Kirch."

Dr. Kirch, who has an M.D. from the University of Colorado, completed a residency in psychiatry in 1982 at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He then joined the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. After directing a number of units at the Institute, he eventually became Deputy Scientific Director and then Acting Scientific Director, with responsibility for the 22 laboratories of the intramural research program. While at NIMH, Dr. Kirch received both the Commendation Medal and the Outstanding Service Medal of the United States Public Health Service.

In 1994 he assumed the position of Dean of the School of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG). Under his leadership, MCG was able to strengthen its biomedical graduate programs, including creation of an innovative M.D./Ph.D. program involving a graduate school consortium of all the public research universities in the state.

Dr. Kirch was also instrumental in the development of several research initiatives including establishment of an Institute for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, a Vascular Biology Center and a Center for Health Care Improvement, a research center devoted to health services and outcomes research.

Under his leadership from 1994 to 1999, sponsored research support to the School of Medicine at MCG increased by 66 percent. During that same period, 16 endowed chairs were created in the school.

Dr. Kirch is widely recognized for his work on the neurobiology of mental disorders. He also has been active in a number of leadership positions for academic medicine nationally, and currently is immediate past chair of the Governing Council of the Section on Medical Schools of the American Medical Association.

"I have had a wonderful experience working with the outstanding people at the Medical College of Georgia," said Dr. Kirch. "But the Hershey Medical Center and Penn State's College of Medicine provide one of the best opportunities in the country. I am delighted to be able to join a university that is making so many advances in medicine and the life sciences, and to be at a medical center that has such a strong emphasis on high quality education and patient care. The caliber of people at Penn State and the Hershey Medical Center is very impressive."

Dr. Kirch is married, with two daughters, aged 9 and 12. His wife, Dr. Deborah M. Kirch, is a clinical psychologist.

Dr. Kirch succeeds C. McCollister Evarts, who retires June 30th after leading the College of Medicine and the Hershey Medical Center since 1987.

"Darrell Kirch is filling some very big shoes," said Spanier. "Mac Evarts' accomplishments are legendary."

Said Kirch: "I am looking forward to building on the outstanding legacy that Mac has left. This is a great institution that is poised for an even greater future. "


For additional information contact: Steve MacCarthy, Executive Director of University Relations (814) 863-1028 (814) 861-5107 (home)