Celebrating Bob Lefkowitz


The two-day symposium, “Celebrating Scientific Discoveries that Advance Human Health,” held to honor Duke cardiologist and Nobel Prize winner Robert J. Lefkowitz’s 50 years at Duke, took place on campus in October of 2023 — and was a resounding success. More than 1000 people attended events that spanned Sunday evening dinner, the public scientific sessions on Monday and early Tuesday in Page Auditorium, and alumni sessions on Tuesday afternoon.

The scientific sessions featured presentations from several Nobel laureates, as well as a panel with University President Vincent E. Price, PhD; Mary E. Klotman, MD, executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the Duke University School of Medicine; former Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski; and Lefkowitz.

Shown here are photos from the event that not only celebrated Bob’s 50 years at Duke but his 80th birthday as well. The gala was held in the President’s Ballroom at the Washington Duke Inn.

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Dr. Robert Lefkowitz - "Celebrating Scientific Discoveries that Advance Human Health"

Special guests included dozens of Lefkowitz’s trainees who came from far and near; on Tuesday, special sessions geared just for those alumni were held in the Trent Semans Center. Members of the Lefkowitz family were in attendance throughout, as well as numerous close friends and colleagues he has known throughout his life.

In a message to his former and current trainees after the event, Lefkowitz wrote, “Wow, what an incredible few days we just shared. I want to thank everybody who took the time to join in and especially those of you who came from long distances to help me celebrate these two very special landmarks in my life. Never have the words been truer than when I say, “I couldn’t have done it without you.”

A big shout-out to Howard Rockman, MD, and Maria Price Rapoza, PhD of the Duke Cardiovascular Research Center for their leadership, vision, and drive for this special event.

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Gala celebrating Dr. Lefkowitz - October 2023

Post-event compliments rolled in afterward, including the following:

“For myself, I can say this was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and an amazing tribute from the broader scientific community on behalf of Dr. Lefkowitz of Duke University or the ‘Duke of Lefkowitz,’ as he was dubbed at the Gala.” Maria Price Rapoza, executive director, Duke CVRC

I loved being on the panel with Bob, Mary & Vince. I thought it went really well. Bob was terrific! It was an honor to be a part of his Birthday Celebration!”Coach K

The happiest of birthdays to you, Dr. Lefkowitz! Congratulations on an incredible career milestone – and thank you for all you have done to advance science in ways that have helped countless patients and fellow researchers. You’ve been living the Duke values all along, encouraging others as a colleague, mentor, and friend!