DENTON A. COOLEY, M.D.
World Renowned Heart Surgeon, Founder, Texas Heart Institute
Kappa Sigma Man of the Year, 1964
Dr. Denton A. Cooley is an internationally acclaimed heart surgeon who performed the first successful heart transplant in the United States. Graduating from the University of Texas in 1941, he began his medical education at the University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston and then went on to complete his medical degree and his surgical training at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Following graduation he went to London to work with Lord Russell Brock. In the HBO film Something The Lord Made, Dr. Cooley was portrayed by Timothy J. Scanlin, Jr.
Cooley reportedly answered in the affirmative when a lawyer during a trial asked him if he considered himself to be the best heart surgeon in the world. "Don't you think that's being rather immodest?" the lawyer replied. "Perhaps," Dr. Cooley responded. "But remember I'm under oath."
Dr. Cooley has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, the René Leriche Prize, the highest honor bestowed by the International Surgical Society, and the National Medal of Technology, the highest honor the United States can confer to a U.S. citizen for achievements related to technological progress. In addition, Dr. Cooley has authored or co-authored more than 1,300 scientific articles and 13 books.