Family Ties That Bind
Some of the fondest memories Brock Bakewell, MD ’84, made as a Jefferson student involved visits from his dad, longtime surgeon Frank S. Bakewell, Jr., MD ’52. The two would walk together through Jefferson Alumni Hall, with father telling son stories about the physicians whose portraits adorned the walls.
“It was so cool—my dad could give so much history about the paintings that hung there. He would point out Dr. [Gonzalo] Aponte, who had graduated with him and gone on to become chairman of pathology,” Bakewell recalls, noting that he particularly enjoyed learning about professors who had taught his father as well as his grandfather, Frank S. Bakewell, Sr., MD 1909, a general practitioner.
Bakewell, an ophthalmologist specializing in cataract surgery and refractive surgery in Tucson, Arizona, says his family’s “great affinity” for Jefferson goes beyond his father and grandfather. His oldest son, Kyle, earned his Master of Public Health from the Jefferson College of Population Health last spring. And Bakewell has discovered that several distant relatives on his mom’s side are also Jefferson alumni—including Hugh Brock, MD 1852, and Luther Brock, MD 1874.
“It took a while, but I figured out Hugh and Luther’s father was my great-grandfather’s first cousin, making them my second cousins twice removed,” he explains.
Spurred by these family ties, Bakewell and his wife, Colleen, recently made a $25,000 gift to name a display case in the Pinizzotto- Ammon Alumni Center.
“It’s hard for me to come to campus because of the geographical distance, but this was a way for me to stay active with Jefferson and highlight our legacy there,” says Bakewell, who has “a soft spot” specifically for Jefferson Alumni Hall for reasons besides the strolls he took there with his dad.
Bakewell recalls that most of his classmates subscribed to a note service—a scribe would type up notes during lectures, and after a professor reviewed them, they would be printed and distributed. That’s where Bakewell and two of his closest friends came in.
“We did printing for the note service, so I remember running off thousands of pages of notes in a single night. I have fond memories of spending hours on Sunday evenings standing at a copier machine in Alumni Hall, printing and collating reams and reams and reams of notes for essentially everyone in our class,” he says.
Although living in Arizona prevents Bakewell from returning to Jefferson often, he was pleased to attend his son’s commencement ceremony in May.
“Everyone I know who went to Jefferson is so proud of their school. Jeffersonians working around the country are looked upon as being well-educated, great clinicians,” he says. “I give to Jefferson because I want the University to continue to flourish and because the people there care about legacies. That’s important to me, especially because my father and grandfather both went there. I made a gift to promote our family’s legacy forever.”