Frederic C. Hamilton Endowed Professor
Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Executive Vice Chair, Department of Medicine
University of Colorado School of Medicine
There will be a ‘Celebration of Life’ memorial for Chip Ridgway this coming Friday, August 8th starting at 2 PM. It will be on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. It will be held in the Education 2 South building auditorium room 1102. There will be a reception following the memorial so his family and academic family can meet.
The Endocrine Society, the world of endocrinology, and the family and innumerable friends and colleagues of Chip Ridgway were immensely saddened to learn of his very untimely death on July 31, 2014. Chip was a graduate of Dartmouth College and an AOA graduate of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, magna cum laude. His internship, medicine residency, and endocrinology fellowship were all at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He served two years in the Navy as Chief of Endocrinology at San Diego prior to returning to the Massachusetts General where he served as Chief of the Thyroid Unit and Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School until 1985. He moved back to the University of Colorado in 1985 with appointment to an endowed chair as the Frederic Hamilton Professor of Medicine, and Division Director of Endocrinology. Chip received the high honor of Distinguished Professor at the University of Colorado in 2011 and remained at the University until his death. Chip relinquished the role of Division Director in 2007 but served as Vice Chairman and interim Chair of Medicine, and has been Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for almost twenty years. Peer recognition of his career led to early election to membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and to Mastership in the American College of Physicians.
Chip shared his professional life as a physician-scientist between his associates at the University of Colorado, numerous international colleagues and collaborators, and his two favorite professional societies, the Endocrine Society and the American Thyroid Association. He served as member and chairman of many committees in both societies, and on the Council of the Endocrine Society and on the Executive Board of the ATA. He was elected President of the ATA in 1996-1997 and President of the Endocrine Society 2003-2004. His honors and awards were many and all truly deserved including the Distinguished Service Award, Paul Starr Award, Stanbury Thyroid Pathophysiology Medal, and Lewis Braverman Lectureship Award of the ATA, and the Robert H. Williams Distinguished Leadership Award of The Endocrine Society. Chip founded and directed a “Fellows Day” conference dedicated to thyroid disease at the ATA annual meeting for the past 20 years, touching the careers of over 100 fellows each year. Indeed, his dedication to both medical education and the growth, development and mentorship of his fellows and junior colleagues was legendary, and he took enormous joy and pride in all of their achievements.
Most recently, Chip has been serving as the highly successful Editor-in-Chief of Endocrine Reviews, our flagship journal that enjoys the highest impact factor of all journals in the field of endocrinology and metabolism. It is not possible to briefly summarize and do credit to his huge body of work. Early studies at Harvard centered around regulatory factors governing thyrotropin production and metabolic clearance. Later at Harvard and Colorado he employed molecular techniques to focus on the alpha and beta subunits of thyrotropin, but there was no aspect of the unknown mysteries in thyroid physiology or thyroid disease pathophysiology and treatment that did not get Chip’s attention and ultimate clarification or elucidation. Hence, he provided many important contributions to our understanding of pituitary disease, peripheral thyroid hormone metabolism, thyroid cancer, and the effects of hypo- or hyperthyroidism on function of muscle, brain, and the heart.
Chip doubtless developed an early interest in medicine by observing his father, one of the first physicians in Cody, Wyoming and the County Health Officer, and it was the role model of his father that also developed his deep love of the wilderness and a rustic lifestyle. He was on a horse by age 2, and spent time every year on the family’s 320 acre ranch in Cody near Yellowstone National Park. He and his family turned the property into a dude ranch for teenagers with elements of a traditional camp, including wilderness backpacking and plenty of horseback riding. Chip was just as much at home in a saddle, or in the laboratory, classroom, or clinic. The world will miss Chip as the towering icon of endocrinology and thyroidology that he was, but his colleagues will also miss him as the articulate and always thoughtful, self-effacing, humanistic and benevolent inspirational figure. He was a tremendous friend to so many, never speaking an unkind word about anyone. He had a broad smile and great laugh that complemented his ready wit and sense of humor. Chip Ridgway was a true friend and comrade to so many of us. His loss leaves a tremendous hole in our Society and especially in our hearts.