Beloved mentor and early Chair of Urology, Elwin E. Fraley, has died

It is with great sadness that I write to inform the Medical School community of the passing of Dr. Elwin E. Fraley on July 31, 2014. Dr. Fraley was the second Chairman of the Department of Urology at the University of Minnesota and served from 1969-1993

Dr. Fraley was an alumnus of Princeton University and Harvard Medical School and completed his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He was recruited to Minnesota after completing a fellowship at the NIH as one of the youngest chairmen of urology in the country at that time.

During his tenure, he took over the reins of a fledgling Department of Urologic Surgery and nurtured it to international prominence. The department is credited with great accomplishments during the time of Dr. Fraley. Several advances in testicular, prostate and bladder cancer care – including facilitating the establishment of PSA as a marker for prostate cancer – were accomplished.

During this time, the new field of endourology was established by research conducted in the department. This newly established field, with the term “endourology” coined by Dr. Fraley, has served as a platform leading to the adoption of laparoscopy and robotic surgery in urology. Endourology has revolutionized the management of stone disease, has resulted in the formation of the international Endourological Society with over 3,000 members and the establishment of the Journal of Endourology.

Dr. Fraley published numerous papers during his career and is credited with characterizing the “Fraley Syndrome.” He was also a history buff and extremely well read – his conversations were always peppered with quotes from Churchill, Shakespeare, and Ayn Rand.

He was a tremendous mentor to his residents and junior faculty and was instrumental in nurturing the careers of many illustrious urologists who have themselves made significant contributions. Six of his trainees went on to become department chairs at institutions around the country and one of them also went on to become Dean at UC-Irvine. Dr. Fraley was much beloved by all his “boys” who respectfully referred to him as “The Boss.” The department established the Dr. Elwin E. Fraley Lectureship in Urology just this year with the help of many of the alumni.

In recent years, he had established a closer connection with the department and was very supportive of our activities. The faculty, staff, residents and fellows of the Department of Urology will greatly miss a pioneering surgeon scientist, patron, and mentor who made enormous contributions to the lives of others and to Urology in general.

His obituary can be found online. Memorial gifts can be made to the University of Minnesota Foundation, Dr. Elwin Fraley Urology Lectureship, Fund 11908, 200 Oak Street SE, Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN 55455 or The Boy Scouts of America, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079.

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