The Legacy of Stuart Bondurant, M.D.: North Carolina's Life Science Leadership
Stuart Bondurant, 88, dean emeritus of the School of Medicine of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, died on Saturday, May 26, 2018 following a brief illness.
His obituary hints at his amazing legacy. Dr. Bondurant's devotion to improving the wellbeing of the people of North Carolina was reflected in many ways. And his pioneering contribution to the state’s global life science leadership, as a co-founder of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, is honored for all to see by a distinctive two-piece sculpture in the Center’s welcoming garden area.
Dr. Bondurant joined the NCBiotech board of directors two years after he and other state academic, business and policy leaders established the Center. He served on the board for a total of 12 years, from July 1986 until his term expired in July 1998. His contribution also included four years as the Center’s second board chairman, from 1988 to 1992. He was also a member of the building committee, which oversaw the construction of the Center’s iconic headquarters building in RTP, opened for business in 1992.
When Dr. Bondurant’s chairmanship ended, the board presented him with a plaque honoring him for providing the board and the Center “the most impressive combination of sense, experience, judgment , and loyalty. His methodology has been deft, his hand balanced, and his eye perceptive. He has shown us that good leaders are good colleagues, and that both are to be valued.
“Moreover, Dr. Bondurant has reminded us that the most valuable accomplishment of a successful man is the capability to apply experience, maturity, and perceptions for the benefit of others, and not just for the self.
“The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has gained greatly over the years from Dr. Bondurant’s particular ability to do so. Involved from the inception of this initiative in 1981, he has – as initial shaper, as board member, and as board chairman – thoughtfully and ethically applied his considerable skills to the advantage of an undertaking complex in nature and varied in constituencies.”
He was then honored by the board’s dedication of the sculpture to him and to Gerry Hancock, the Center’s original board chair who remains a revered public servant as a partner in the Raleigh law firm of Everett Gaskins Hancock LLP.
The white sculpture (at left) was commissioned from a man whose work was well known at the time -- Be Gardiner, of Creston, near Boone. The board’s tribute to Dr. Bondurant noted that the Center sought an abstract design “representing the technology for which he has worked so successfully and honorably.”
In a subsequent thank-you letter to the Center, Dr. Bondurant said, “The sculpture magnificently fulfilled my hopes and dreams for an expression of the humanity of biotechnology.”
Among his many accolades, Dr. Bondurant was also named a “Distinguished Leader in Bioscience Research and Development” by the North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research in 2010.
As for the sculptor, he put down his chisel in 1995, moved from his Western North Carolina home to the Puget Sound in Washington, and became a Zen monk, changing his name to Teitaku Isaac Gardiner (he said “Be” was actually a childhood nickname).