First U.S. Heart Transplant Happened Here

50 years ago — Shumway first to transplant heart in U.S. (Photo: Chuck Painter/Stanford News Service)

The first adult human heart transplant in the United States — just a month behind the transplant done by Christiaan Barnard in South Africa — was performed at Stanford by professor of cardiothoracic surgery Norman E. Shumway, who had spent the preceding eight years developing the techniques in animals. The recipient, Mike Kasperak, a 54-year-old steelworker, lived 14 days before his kidneys and liver failed.

125 years ago — Stanford founder seeks to “reach the multitude”

In a valedictory letter to President David Starr Jordan, Leland Stanford said the rich “can get their education anywhere, but the object is more particularly to reach the multitude—those people who have to consider the expenditure of every dollar.” He encouraged the teaching of music and the arts in addition to the sciences, engineering, law and medicine.

Leland Stanford

75 years ago — Tresidder named fourth president

Donald B. Tresidder, ’19, MD ’27, was named Stanford’s fourth president, succeeding Ray Lyman Wilbur, Class of 1896, MA ’97, MD ’99, who retired in early 1942. Trustees had prevailed on Wilbur to continue, with the title of chancellor, until a successor could be found. But recruiting during World War II proved essentially impossible. Tresidder, a nonpracticing doctor, was married to the former Mary Curry, ’15, MA ’17, and had been serving as president of Yosemite Park and Curry Co.

Donald Tresidder

25 years ago — Men win Blockbuster Bowl; women athletes thrive

Stanford’s football team won the Blockbuster Bowl, downing Penn State 24–3 in Miami on New Year’s Day. The win came less than two weeks after the women’s volleyball team topped powerhouse UCLA to earn its first NCAA crown. Meanwhile, university officials announced the addition of three varsity women’s sports — synchronized swimming, lacrosse and water polo — over a four-year period, in an effort to achieve parity with men. 

Blockbuster Bowl
The 1992 Stanford football team. (Photo: Robby Beyers)