George W. Morley, M.D.

George W. Morley


George W. Morley, M.D., Norman F. Miller Professor Emeritus of Gynecology and Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology, in the University of Michigan Medical School passed away February 20, 2005 after a brief illness at the age of 81.

Dr. Morley was one of America's most distinguished gynecologic surgeons and was an important leader in his specialty who reached the highest echelons of leadership in his field. He was elected President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society of Pelvic Surgeons, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, the Central Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons. He served as a member of the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons, was Chair of the Jacobs National Center for Women's Health Issues, and was three-times listed as among America's best obstetricians and gynecologists.

Dr. Morley spent his entire academic career at the University of Michigan, an institution he greatly loved. He earned his B.S. (1944), M.D. (1949), and M.S. (1955) degrees and completed his internship and residency training (1949-1954) at the University of Michigan under the guidance of his mentor Dr. Norman F. Miller. After 2 years in the Military, he joined the University faculty in 1956 as an Instructor in Obstetrics and Gynecology and rose to the rank of Professor in 1970. He became Chief of the Gynecologic Oncology Service he founded in 1964 and was the inaugural Director of the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship in 1971. In 1987, he was named the first Norman F. Miller Professor of Gynecology. Dr. Morley's bibliography lists over 110 articles and 15 book chapters, including major contributions to gynecologic surgery for malignant and benign disease. He was especially known for success in treating the formidable problem of recurrent cervical cancer with radical pelvic exenteration and his surgical series has the highest five-year survival rate reported in the literature and remains a landmark of success in treating recurrent pelvic neoplasia.

It was in the operating room where students, residents, and fellows will best remember Dr. Morley. He was an inspiring, demanding yet patient teacher. His passion for surgery filled the operating theater and he assured that all members of the surgical team learned both the fundamental principles and the fine nuances of operative gynecology. He stimulated many residents to pursue careers in gynecological surgery who have gone on to make important contributions to Gynecologic Surgery as a direct result of Dr. Morley's inspiration The many faculty and residents who worked with him will remember, with great appreciation, his wise advice, personal charm, and unfailing support.

In 1993, in recognition of Dr. Morley's remarkable contributions, the Gynecologic Oncology Service at the University of Michigan Medical Center was named in his honor and, after an extraordinarily short and highly successful campaign, the George W. Morley Collegiate Professorship was established in 1994. In 1996, an alumni society of Gynecologic Oncology trainees was founded in his name and remains active. The University of Michigan recognized Dr. Morley's long and distinguished service to his beloved institution with Distinguished Service Awards both from the Medical Center Alumni and also the University Alumni Society for his tireless and effective service to the University.

Dr. Morley was fond of saying: "I got to treat, and to train to treat, what more could anyone ask for?" a fitting epitaph for a great surgeon and an inspiring teacher.

Charitable donations can be made to the George W. Morley Memorial fund by contacting the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at (734) 764-8123 or e-mail at

Submitted by John DeLancey, M.D.

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