“I can’t emphasize enough the impact these men [Professor Arthur Chesler and Professor W.L. Magnuson] have had on my life.”
“Wesleyan positioned me perfectly for the widely varied practice of internal medicine.”
“A Wesleyan grad is real, and we’re the kind of person you want on your team, the kind of person you want to hire!”
“I’ve been married to Dr. Suzanne Lekson for 27 years. Our children include Alexandra, a medical student at the University of Toledo; Victoria, a graduate student in occupational therapy at USC; Nicholai, a high school senior; and Lorelei, a high school junior.”
Why did you choose Wesleyan?
“I heard about Wesleyan after taking the ACT. I had visited Ohio University and Case Western Reserve University. My Dad and I traveled to Owensboro for the Brown Scholarship weekend. Wesleyan felt different. It immediately felt like home, and when Wesleyan offered me a Brown Scholarship, our decision was made.”
What are special memories of your Wesleyan years?
“The social community and the personal classroom attention. It felt like family.”
Who served as mentors while you were a student here? Why did you choose medicine after majoring in business administration? Why did you become an internist?
“So many men and women influenced me from a mentoring standpoint. Two faculty stand out – the late business/economics professor, Arthur Chesler, and chemistry professor Dr. W. L. Magnuson. I started Wesleyan as a business major. Professor Chesler always had his faculty office door open for sessions ranging from teenage angst to plans for an MBA. Senior year a series of events prompted a detour. I was sitting in a dorm room on the Sig Ep floor and confided in a close friend that I was having serious doubts about business as a career. Literally, out of the blue, he asked if I had ever considered medical school. It was as though the future opened in an instant.
Professor Chesler seamlessly transitioned me to Dr. Magnuson, who always had his lab door open and who guided me through a year and a half of extra studies needed for medical school. I can’t emphasize enough the impact these men have had on my life. I would not be here without them. As for internal medicine as a specialty, medical school is a pretty intense experience, and you get to work with all kinds of people at all levels of stress and expertise. The inner voice informed my decision, and I have not looked back. Wesleyan positioned me perfectly for the widely varied practice of internal medicine.”
Describe a typical day on the job.
“Up until a year ago, my Cincinnati VA Hospital practice included primary care clinic, administrative duties, emergency room coverage, and teaching medical students and residents from the University of Cincinnati. After 23 years of this, I became restless, shed much of my administrative load, and dropped the emergency room. I continue full-time primary care internal medicine practice at one of our VA clinics, and I maintain my affiliation with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.”
What are your favorite leisure activities?
“This is going to sound really boring, but I love hanging out with our family and watching the children set sail with their lives. Also, with the internet’s rise, I enjoyed a parallel music career, which culminated in collaboration with guitarist Peter Frampton in recording an album with bluesman Big Joe Duskin, who played Wesleyan’s chapel years ago.”
Who is someone living, dead, or fictional you would like to spend time with, and what would you ask him or her?
“Martin Luther King, Jr. I would ask him, ‘What can I do to help?’”
Your topic for the Ellie Magnuson lecture is “Tales from the Practical.” Please give us a hint about what tales you will share!
“‘Listen to your patients, and they will tell you what is wrong with them.’ This quote came to mind after Drs. Magnuson and Combs invited me to lecture. So I redoubled efforts to really listen and to remember back to times when listening was golden. I try to tell stories from that angle. Listening is not the domain of the privileged, it’s the domain of the practiced.”
How did Wesleyan prepare you for a successful, fulfilling life?
“Wow. Academically, socially, spiritually, joyfully – a Wesleyan grad is real, and we’re the kind of person you want on your team, the kind of person you want to hire!”
Why would you recommend Wesleyan to prospective students today?
“Because critical thinking and community are like oxygen; they never go out of style. Build a solid base at Kentucky Wesleyan, and only the sky will limit you.”
A favorite movie
“Zoolander, the original. Can’t answer why, but we’ve watched it as a family a couple dozen times.”
A favorite book
“How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.”
A favorite vacation destination
Several bucket list items
“I want to volunteer in service more as our children move out. I have a few apologies welling up inside, waiting to be made. I want to see our children succeed on their own terms.”