The Ohio State University Alumni Association

2020 Alumni Awards

David E. Schuller ’70 MD – Dan L. Heinlen Award

Presented to alumni who have realized outstanding achievements in advancing the university by advocating for its interests with one or more of its important audiences. It recognizes achievement in activities ranging from the recruitment of outstanding students and faculty to the University, to advocacy with elected officials and opinion leaders on behalf of Ohio State.

headshot of David Schuller

Showing the way to excellence

When you or a loved one is relying on cancer treatment and research, you want only the best. This doctor helped make that reality.

By Joshua Wright

Many people played key roles in the expansion of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James). But few are more deserving of credit than David Schuller ’70 MD.

As part of a 44-year career at Ohio State, Schuller served as OSUCCC– James director from 1988 to 1997 and then as deputy director until 2008. He also served as director and later CEO of The James from 1988 to 2008, as Wexner Medical Center vice president of medical center outreach and expansion from 2008 to 2015 and as chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery from 1984 to 2005.

“After leading the original James to national renown, he set his sights on articulating a vision for the hospital’s expansion,” says Dr. William Farrar, CEO of the OSUCCC. “He helped to lead the capital effort for the transformative facility we have today.”

Here, Schuller talks about how he fell in love with Ohio State, the many ways he advocated for the university and how the love of his life helped him along the way.

What are some of your earliest memories of your time at Ohio State?

I was struck immediately by how the faculty seemed to be so genuinely interested in helping all of us as medical students succeed in our desires to pursue a career in medicine. I don’t think there’s any question this commitment to educational excellence continues today.

What do you think has been the legacy of the new James?

The two things that I think are most prominent are a dramatic expansion of our ability to do world-class cancer research and our expanded ability to treat a substantially larger number of patients. The first month that we opened the new hospital, we were filling it. It’s a testament to the quality of care. And I think it’s the recognition by the public that research-driven patient care creates expanded treatment options for them.

How else have you been able to advocate for the university?

In 1980, I was contacted because the football team was recruiting a high school student who was not only a talented player, but also interested in pursuing a career in medicine. So over these 40 years, I have helped to assist our student-athletes — men and women, in any sport.

How has your wife, Carole, been integral in your success?

I am fortunate to have married a really capable and loving person. Her leadership of our family development was invaluable, but I also know she was critically important in my professional activities, especially as it related to recruitment and development activities. Some advice I’d give anyone is to make sure you pick a great partner for the rest of your life.

See all 2020 Alumni Award honorees