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Tom McCormick, DMin, senior lecturer emeritus in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities, died on Feb. 12 at age 86.

“Tom’s generosity, kindness and optimism marked every interaction whether it be with a stranger or close friend. I have never met anyone like him, and the world, our department and the UW School of Medicine are better because of his indelible mark on us,” says Denise Dudzinski, PhD, HeC-C, professor and chair of the Department of Bioethics and Humanities.

McCormick joined the UW School of Medicine in 1974 and served the UW Medicine community for over 40 years.

A leader in bioethics

Upon joining the UW School of Medicine, McCormick helped develop and establish the School’s first medical ethics program.

From there, he went on to teach a variety of elective courses in bioethics and developed the initial ethics core curriculum for the School’s Seattle campus, as well as the other Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) sites.

McCormick was a beloved mentor, teacher and collaborator. Throughout his career, he worked as an ethics consultant for Harborview Medical Center, the In Vitro Fertilization Project, the NICU and the cardiac transplant service at UW Medical Center. He also was a founding member of Harborview’s ethics committee.

Along with these accomplishments, McCormick served as the director of Counseling for the UW School of Medicine from 1985 to 2001.

“Over the years, through both lectures and conversations, I acquired through Tom at least a layperson’s familiarity with the complexities of ethical decision-making in contemporary medicine, a familiarity that enriched my understanding of medicine’s history. In addition, I developed a treasured friendship with Tom, who was one of the most affable people I have ever known, unfailingly outgoing and jovial. I shall miss him greatly,” says Jim Whorton, PhD, professor emeritus in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities.

A celebrated career

In 2007, McCormick received an honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree from Northwest Christian University for his contributions through his work in bioethics.

He was awarded Outstanding CME Director in 2008 for his work as co-director, along with Denise Dudzinski, of the annual UW School of Medicine Summer Bioethics Seminar.

The UW Campus Ministry Board further honored McCormick with the lectureship in his name, “The McCormick Lectureship in Science & Religion,” which recognizes his contributions to these fields through bioethics.

Share your stories and memories

You can share your stories and memories of Tom McCormick, which will be added his remembrance page.  If you have photos to share, please email them to, and they will be added as well.

In lieu of flowers, McCormick’s family requested donations in honor of him be sent to a fund in his name through the UW Department of Bioethics and Humanities. The fund will support lectureships and scholarships in honor of McCormick’s far-reaching commitment to bioethics education.

You can dedicate your gift in honor of McCormick’s memory on his UW donation page.

Editor’s Note: The article was updated with the date of Tom McCormick’s death.