Meharry Board Chair Announces Retirement

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NASHVILLE, TN — After 30 years as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Meharry Medical College, Frank S. Royal, Sr., M.D. ’68 has announced his decision to retire. During his time as Chairman, Dr. Royal’s leadership helped Meharry experience an unprecedented amount of growth in terms of increased student enrollment, large scale infrastructure projects, the completion of the historic $125 million Campaign for Meharry and significant growth in the endowment.

“Dr. Royal is an alumnus who has dedicated his entire life to advancing Meharry and the betterment of others, often at great personal sacrifice” said Dr. James E. K. Hildreth, president and CEO of Meharry Medical College. Dr. Hildreth went on to say “Dr. Royal was always willing to share his successes with Meharry through his leadership, contributions and recognition of the College.”

Dr. Royal was the first board member to contribute $100,000 to Meharry.  As others followed suit, a giving society was named for him –  The Royal Society.  He and his wife also established the Pamela and Frank S. Royal Sr. Endowed Scholarship at Meharry.  During his time on the board, Dr. Royal has given more than $2 million to the college.  In 1997 under Dr. Royal’s leadership as chairman of the board of trustees, the College embarked upon a $125 million capital campaign.  The goal was exceeded with $127.5 million raised at the campaign’s conclusion on June 30, 2005.  At the time, the goal was the largest ever attempted and the dollar total was the third highest raised among the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).  The success from this campaign put Meharry Medical College on course for new achievements and a new era of growth.

In 1961, Dr. Royal earned his B.S. from Virginia Union University, graduating Cum Laude. He went on to complete his M.D. from Meharry in 1968, after which he started a private practice in Richmond, Virginia in 1969. During his medical career, Dr. Royal also served as Chief of Staff at Richmond Community Hospital and as an assistant clinical professor of family practice at the Medical College of Virginia. An advocate of improved health services for the underserved in the late 1980’s, Dr. Royal spearheaded the construction of a new Richmond City Community Hospital in the city’s east end.

Dr. Royal has served on the board of directors of several major corporations, including Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Smithfield Foods, Inc., SunTrust Banks, Inc., Chesapeake Corporation, Dominion Resources, Inc. and CSX Corporation.  He is also an Honorary Trustee and former Chairman of the Board of Virginia Union University.

In addition to his professional success, Dr. Royal has continually dedicated his time, talent and resources to serving the underserved, strengthening his community and mentoring youth. He is an emeritus director of the YMCA of Greater Richmond, a past president and member of the National Medical Association and a life member of the NAACP, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.

Dr. Royal will be succeeded by Dr. Nelson L. Adams III.  Dr. Adams has been on the Meharry Board of Trustees since 2005 and most recently served as a vice-chairman. He is a past president of the National Medical Association, and the founder and president of Access Health Solutions (AHS). AHS is the largest minority-run managed care network in the southeastern United States. A board certified obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Adams was the first black Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the first African-American Chief of Staff of North Shore Medical Center in Miami, Florida.

Dr. Adams earned his B.A. from Howard University in 1974.  He went on to attain his M.D. from Meharry Medical College in 1978. Dr. Adams continued his training at Emory University in Atlanta, where he completed his internship in 1979 and his residency in obstetrics and gynecology in 1982.

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