Dr. Ray Blackwell, Sanford parent, former Sanford trustee, and the chief of cardiac surgery and surgical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at Christiana Care Health Services in Newark, Delaware, recently added another honor to his long list of accomplishments. As a two-time graduate of Dartmouth College, ’80 and MED ’87, Dr. Blackwell was recognized on January 31 at a campus ceremony, where he was presented with a lifetime achievement award from his alma mater for his tireless work as a leader and mentor in his field.
As a part of its annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work for social justice, Dartmouth honors current and rising leaders for their dedication to community service, and Dr. Blackwell was singled out for dedicating his life to the service of others.
As a medical student at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, Dr. Blackwell served on the Minority Admissions Subcommittee and later became a regional recruiter for the college and medical school. He was a student in the A Better Chance Program, which is designed to place underprivileged and underrepresented students in better academic environments, and he continues to remains active with the organization. Additionally, Dr. Blackwell is a regional alumni council member of National Medical Fellowships, which provides scholarships for underrepresented and underfunded medical students. He is co-founder of the Association of Black Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons whose mission is to support and develop upcoming and practicing cardiothoracic surgeons.
In honoring Dr. Blackwell, it was noted that he has provided many mentoring opportunities for local high schools and regional underrepresented college and medical school students. He has served as co-chair of the Christiana Care Diversity and Inclusion and Health Equity committees and has resided as chairperson of the Blood Pressure Ambassadors Program, which addresses hypertension in the African American community, since its inception. To date, over 12,000 lives have been touched as a result of this program.
In addition to his ongoing service to and support of Sanford, Dr. Blackwell is active with Gamma Theta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., having initially joined through Theta Zeta Chapter at Dartmouth College. He is a trustee of Christiana Care Health System and is on the Board of Directors for the local New Castle County and the regional Great Rivers Affiliate chapters of the American Heart Association.
Dr. Blackwell’s wife, Wanda, is also a graduate of Dartmouth College ’81 and Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine ’87. They, along with daughters Arielle ’08 and Asia ’20, traveled to the college for this prestigious awards ceremony. Ashley ’16, currently a junior at Wake Forest University, was unable to attend, but certainly was with her father in spirit.
The Sanford School community proudly joins the Dartmouth College community in celebrating the numerous accomplishments and life-long commitment to service that Dr. Blackwell models so well for his family, friends, and colleagues.