Robertson Brothers Fund

Fund Purpose: To support education and research within the University of Tennessee neurosurgery resident program.

James Thomas Robertson, MD, FAANS(L) was born in McComb, Mississippi in 1931; the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde A. Robertson. After an early childhood in Louisiana he moved to Memphis graduating from high school in 1949. He completed the pre-medical requirements at Southwestern at Memphis and entered the University of Tennessee College of Medicine graduating In December 1954. He was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha. After completing a rotating internship at the Baptist Memorial Hospital and six months of general surgery at the City Hospital, he entered the residency in neurological surgery, where Francis Murphey was Professor.

After residency, he enjoyed an additional year of training with Donald Matson at the Brigham Hospital. He entered active duty in the USAF (MC) serving as Chief of Neurosurgery at Travis AFB in California and assistant Chief of Neurological Surgery at Wilford Hall Hospital in San Antonio. In 1964 he joined the Semmes-Murphey Clinic, he became Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery in 1973. He retired as Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery in January 1996 and continues as a tenured Professor in the Department.

Always interested in the activities of organized medicine he became a member of most of the leading societies of neurological surgery and served as President of the CNS in 1975, the AAcNS in 1988 and the AANS in 1991. He was a member of the Residency Review Committee for Neurological Surgery (Chairman 1989-91), a member of the ABNS from 1977-83 (Vice Chairman), and a member of the advisory council of NINDS (1984-88). He is past Chairman of the Stroke Council of the American Heart Association and was awarded the annual distinguished faculty alumni award at Rhodes College (formerly Southwestern) in October 1994. In 1996 he became a medical consultant to Sofamor Danek and presently serves as the Medical Director of the Spinal Division of what has become Medtronic Sofamor Danek. Since 1996 he has directed a Spinal Research Center at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, England. This department of Neurosurgery is part of the University of Bristol. He serves as an honorary consultant to this department and held surgical privileges from 1996-1999.

During his tenure, Dr. Robertson has presented numerous papers and publications with a particular interest in cerebral vasospasm, carotid endarterectomy, acoustic tumors, glomus jugulare tumors, and pituitary tumors. In addition, approximately 60 residents have been trained at the University of Tennessee program for neurological surgery during his career.

He served as the Chairman of the Stroke Council of the American Heart Association and was awarded the Annual distinguished faculty alumni award at Rhodes College (formerly Southwestern) in October 1994.

In 1952 he married Valeria Brower Robertson. They had six children, Tom, Elizabeth, Catherine, Clay, Roberta and Dan. The couple have 12 grandchildren.

Dr. James Robertson passed away on June 30, 2019.

Jon Hobson Robertson, MD, FAANS was born on June 25, 1946, in Memphis, Tennessee. As a child his family moved to Independence, Louisiana, a small farming community in southeast Louisiana, where he was raised on a farm.

Graduating from high school in 1963, he moved back to Memphis and attended Southwestern University (now Rhodes College), made possible by a football scholarship. He received his B.A. degree in 1968.

Dr. Robertson was awarded his medical degree from the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences in Memphis in 1971, and completed a year of internship and general surgery at the City of Memphis Hospitals 1971-1973.

He conducted a family practice clinic and worked as an emergency room physician until entering the University of Tennessee Semmes-Murphey Clinic neurosurgical residency program in 1975. Upon completion of his neurosurgical residency in 1979, Dr. Robertson joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee Department of Neurosurgery and became a member of the Semmes-Murphey Clinic in Memphis. His neurosurgical practice focused on the management of complex skull base tumors. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1984, and became Professor and Chairman of the UT Department of Neurosurgery in 1997. He stepped down as Chair of the UT program in July 2011. Although he has limited his clinical practice, he continues to enjoy his teaching role as a senior faculty member.

Dr. Robertson is a member of numerous neurosurgical societies, and has served in leadership roles as President of the North American Skull Base Society (2002), President of the Society of University Neurosurgeons (2005), President of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (2008), and as a Director on the American Board of Neurological Surgeons (2000-2006). In April 2013, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons awarded Dr. Robertson, with its highest member honor, the Harvey Cushing Medal. Since 2014 he has served as Chairman of the Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (NREF), the philanthropic arm of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. He recently stepped down as Chairman, but remains on the NREF Board of Directors as Vice Chair.

Parents of five children and grandparents of twelve, Dr. Robertson and his wife, Carol Ann, have been married for 50 years. Dr. Robertson enjoys fly-fishing, music, gardening, hiking, and spending time with his family.

To view a list of all donors to this fund, click here.

NREF is the Philanthropic Arm of the AANS

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