The Measure of a Man
A Memorial Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Pine Mathews
April 21, 1921 - December 28, 2002
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy" - Martin Luther King, Jr.
The true measure of a man is not seen in the life he lives before others, but rather it is demonstrated by his hidden actions, how he navigates through life's trials and tribulations and how he treats his fellow man. Dr. Kenneth Pine Mathews was truly a man above many. His life was filled with a "quiet integrity" that left a lasting example for others to follow.
Dr. Kenneth P. Mathews began his long and illustrious professional career at the University of Michigan, where he was a professor of Internal Medicine from 1948-1986 and Division Chief of Allergy and Clinical Immunology from 1967-1983, before joining the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in LaJolla, CA in 1986. From 1968-72 Dr. Mathews served as editor of the National Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, co-authored "A Manual of Clinical Allergy" in 1967, and contributed numerous articles to professional journals. In addition, he served as President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) in 1968 and was recipient of the Academy's prestigious Distinguished Service Award in 1976. For all of his accolades, however, Dr. Mathews' most cherished was the prestigious Distinguished Faculty Award conferred on him by the University of Michigan.
Dr. Mathews was a highly regarded physician, scholar and leader in the field of Allergy and Immunology and a true inspiration to the over 100 Fellows who trained under him in the Allergy Training Program. His impressive legacy of excellence at the University of Michigan Medical School continues to live on as an incentive to those who have followed in his footsteps.
Dr. Ian Slepian (Graduate, Allergy Training Program, Class of 1982) remembered Dr. Mathews as "a very modest man." Slepian notes "he didn't strike me as a guy who was very interested in putting on airs or (in) power - he was only interested in his science. He had an energetic gait - he walked down the hall full of energy." Dr. Slepian recalled the depth of scientific knowledge Dr. Mathews possessed. "He was always a scientist, trying to relate things to his intellectual pursuits. He thought creatively and in a scientific way. He had a lot of integrity and a good heart."
While completing his internship at U-M, Dr. Slepian developed a medical condition that required frequent hospitalizations. During the second year of his Allergy Fellowship, it was Dr. Mathews who also confidentially treated him. Said Slepian "There was a good heart behind the scientist" says Dr. Slepian. "He was a kind-hearted (but very) private person with a lot of integrity."
Dr. James A. McLean, professor-emeritus of the University's Allergy Division, remembered Dr. Mathews as a full-time administrator, researcher and teacher who "did it all on his own - researcher, ran the training program, (even) made all the teaching schedules!" Recalls McLean "back then, we all had rotations for several months at a time in Health Services, Wayne County General Hospital - and two days a week at the V.A. Ken took his rotation like everyone else."
Both Slepian and McLean remember Dr. Mathews as a man of quiet integrity. Said McLean, "to those who knew him well - a side many fellows didn't see - he was kind, sympathetic and would listen and counsel. The fellows always saw him running from consult to clinic and running from clinic to lab. He was really a unique individual." Fellows who trained under him learned research and analysis in addition to clinical skills. Said McLean, "he was a busy man with very little help. He had a clinic secretary but not a personal secretary. He was highly confidential and did not broadcast his (personal) accomplishments".
Dr. Kenneth Pine Mathews will be remembered as "the silent guy behind the scenes".