Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs S. Ward Casscells, M.D, was the guest speaker at the 2010 McLane Lecture. He is currently a professor of medicine and public health and a vice president at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Casscells’ April 14 lecture titled “How to Survive Bad Guys, Bad Luck, Bad Habits and Bad Health” focused on the challenges students may face in the future after they graduate.
“If you are like my students, you want a fair chance at success,” Casscells said. “You want to find a career that you are good at, maybe one that you love.”
Casscells recalled a statement that he heard while on a recent medical trip.
“I wish I could remember who said, ‘If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life,’” he said. “I heard it again the other day in Haiti from somebody with no reason to be cheerful whatsoever; it is a great saying.”
Owner of the Houston Astros and McLane Group Chairman Drayton McLane
Jr. said he saw Casscells’ accomplishments years ago as a physician in Houston and a civic leader.
“He went to Yale, got a degree in biology and graduated cum laude,” he said. “He then went to Harvard Medical School and graduated magna cum laude. As he went through business and life, he has accomplished many different things.”
Dean of the College of Business Dr. Jim King said it would not be possible to
have great national speakers at a small school without McLane’s influence.
“Whoever Drayton brings in will challenge the students to serve others or to be a better person,” he said.
“They don’t speak about how to become personally successful but how to become successful by serving others. Anyone who attends the lectures will always hear something that will personally speak to them.”
McLane said Casscells is credited with turning around a $45 billion health and education system with 137,000 employees, 10 million patients in 900 clinics and hospitals in 100 countries.
He accomplished this during his position as assistant secretary of defense, April 2007 through April 2009.
Concerning the new federal healthcare bill, Casscells was not in favor of it in the beginning.
“I thought about the scriptural guidance … love your neighbor as yourself,” he said.
Casscells said this was not helpful to him.
“But then a voice whispered in my ear ‘as to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,’” he said. “I could not escape … that we needed to have this healthcare bill passed and reform on it down the road.”
King said he appreciates the support from the university for the lecture, which takes place every year.
“From the administration, faculty in the College of Business for bringing their classes, and to the students,” he said, “I am so thankful to these groups individually for making it a viable event.”
At the end of the lecture, Casscells closed with a prayer which he said he learned 20 years ago when he moved to Texas.
“Vaya Con Dios.” or “God be with you.”