Surgeon named speaker for fall commencement

Dr. Walter Pories, founding chairman of the Department of Surgery at the East Carolina University School of Medicine, has been chosen to deliver the address at the university’s fall commencement on Dec. 7.

More than 2,000 candidates are expected to graduate at the ceremony, which will begin at 10 a.m. at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Pories came to ECU 19 years ago to start the surgery department. He also was chief of surgery at Pitt County Memorial Hospital. He stepped down from the chairmanship of the department in July to give himself more time to spend on research, to act at director of the surgical residency program and to help guide the introduction of managed medical care in eastern North Carolina.

One of his primary research interests has been a surgical procedure, refined in the School of Medicine, to produce weight loss in very obese patients. The operation, known internationally as the Greenville gastric bypass, also cures the patients’s diabetes. Research continues to determine why the operation affects diabetes.

Pories, 66, majored in art at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1952. He graduated from the University of Rochester medical school in 1955.

He was a physician in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army Reserve, including five years as chairman of the Department of Surgery at the U.S. Air Force Medical Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

He came to ECU from Cleveland, where he was professor and associate director of the Department of Surgery at Case Western Reserve University and chief of surgery at the Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital