Alabama Academy of Honor


Charles A. LeMaistre

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1998.



Charles A. LeMaistre was born in 1924 in Lockhart, Alabama. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Alabama and earned his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. He took his residency at New York Hospital and Cornell, where he completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in infectious diseases and later was an assistant professor of medicine. Dr. LeMaistre served as chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at Emory University School of Medicine.

After several years as a professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, he was named associate dean. He later became vice chancellor for health affairs. Dr. LeMaistre was elected chancellor of the University of Texas System and served in that capacity until he was named president of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. During his tenure, M.D. Anderson became a world leader in outpatient care for cancer patients.

Dr. LeMaistre served on the first United States Surgeon General's Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health, which identified cigarettes as a major health hazard. He was also appointed chairperson of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration/National Institutes of Health Joint Advisory Committee on Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Dr. LeMaistre has served as national president of the American Cancer Society and as president of the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Fund. He has received many awards, among them, the President's Award from the American Lung Association and the Gibson D. Lewis Award for Excellence in Cancer Control. He was also chosen Outstanding Texas Leader by the 7th Annual John Ben Sheppard Public Leadership Forum.

Dr. LeMaistre has received distinguished alumnus awards from the University of Alabama and Cornell University, and numerous honorary degrees in recognition of his achievements in medicine, higher education, and public health.

Dr. LeMaistre has written many scientific papers in the fields of preventive medicine, infectious diseases, and epidemiology. He has also served on the Board of Trustees of Stillman College and Austin College.

Dr. LeMaistre is an active civic leader, serving as a director of the Greater Houston Partnership, the Rotary Club of Houston Foundation, the Forum Club of Houston, and Texans for Quality Education. Dr. LeMaistre is also an ordained elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Houston.

Dr. LeMaistre and his wife Joyce have two sons and two daughters.