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Medical school honors distinguished alumnus

Richard A. Becker, M.D., an eminent San Antonio physician, has been named the 2000 Distinguished Alumnus by the Medical Alumni Association at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Dr. Becker, a practicing endocrinologist and clinical professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, received his bachelorís and masterís degrees in English literature from UT Austin. He earned his M.D. from the Health Science Center in 1971 as part of only the second class of Medical School graduates. He completed his internship and residency in medicine at Boston City Hospital, followed by a fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at Yale University Medical School.

"There were only about 30 or so students in my class. I was accepted to an extremely competitive internship in Boston with graduates from the top medical schools in the country," he said. "I didnít know how well prepared I would be, and I found that I was perhaps the best prepared."

Dr. Becker recalls his work at the Brooke Army Medical Center burn unit with Health Science Center surgeon Basil Pruitt, M.D., as one of the most significant times of his life. "It was very hard, challenging work. As a result, I was invited to continue my work in Sweden, as a visiting scientist with the Swedish Medical Research Council in 1982," he said.

President of the Texas Diabetes and Endocrine Association in 1992, Dr. Becker served as President of the Medical Alumni Association at the Health Science Center from 1997 through 1999. "My work with the Alumni Association has meant a great deal to me. It has been an honor to be involved in establishing the Pestana, Forland and Young scholarships," he said. Those scholarships honor Carlos Pestana, M.D., Ph.D., retired associate dean for academic affairs; Marvin Forland, M.D., retired associate dean for clinical affairs; and James J. Young, Ph.D., retired dean of the Medical School.

A former lieutenant commander of the U.S. Navy National Naval Medical Center, Dr. Becker has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 1989 Outstanding Physician Award from the Travelers Health Network.

These days, Dr. Becker spends much of his free time at the vineyard and winery he and his family established in the Texas Hill Country between Fredericksburg and Stonewall. The winery makes about 12,000 cases of wine a year.

Dr. Becker, an Abilene native, and his wife, Bunny, have two grown sons and a grown daughter.

Contact: Sonia Guardiola or Will Sansom