The Asheville School Board of Trustees recently honored Dr. Hugh C. Hemmings, Jr 1974 with the school's Award of Merit – the highest honor the school bestows. Hemmings was presented the Award of Merit on Friday night of Alumni Weekend, April 25, 2014.
The Board was honored to give this award to Dr. Hemmings in recognition of a distinguished career in research, medicine, and education.
After Asheville School, Hemmings earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from Yale College, a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Yale University, and an M.D. from Yale Medical School. He completed postdoctoral work at The Rockefeller University, a residency in anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and a fellowship in cardiac anesthesia at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he has been a faculty member since 1991.
Dr. Hemmings is an expert in the synaptic effects of general anesthetics and mechanisms of neuronal signal transduction. He has authored more than 100 publications, including a textbook on basic anesthesiology. He is active in several national and international societies for anesthesiology and neuroscience and serves as an Editor for the journals Anesthesiology and the British Journal of Anesthesia. In 2012, the Royal College of Anaesthetists elected him as a Fellow. In 2013, Dr. Hemmings was appointed Chairman and Anesthesiologist-in-Chief of the Department of Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medical College.
The Award of Merit, first awarded in 1966, was established to honor friends of Asheville School and of education in the Southeast for their lifetime accomplishments. Recent winners have included: several former Asheville School teachers – Ron Bromley, Doc Embler, Chuck Carter, Chase Ambler '50, Irv Ornduff, Sly and Donna Lewis; alumni Steve Bryant '41 (attorney and philanthropist), Zoltan Soos '58 (Chemistry professor at Princeton), Dr. Ben V. Branscomb 1941 (doctor of pulmonary medicine); and parents of alumni Dr. John Lawrence and Major General John Grinalds.