Distinguished Alumni

2006 - Donald P. Babbitt

Donald Babbitt-2006Babbitt, a 1942 graduate of UW-River Falls, was recognized posthumously for his extensive work in pediatric radiology. Babbitt was known as the world’s leading expert regarding Pancreaticobiliary Maljunction, a disease of the pancreas. His individual research largely contributed to the discovery of the disease. He traveled around the world to speak and present information on the disease and published several articles and other information to books and the American Medical Association.

Dr. Yasuhisa Koyanagi of the Tokyo Medical University wrote about Dr. Babbitt’s pioneering work in a letter of recommendation.

“His work has formed the basis for much pre-clinical and clinical work throughout the world in this field. His work has had huge effects on the diagnosis and treatment of countless patients around the world,” Koyanagi said.

Babbitt was also instrumental in proving that children do, in fact, get gallstones, contrary to conventional medical beliefs at the time. Dr. Babbitt also realized that children needed medical care regardless of whether or not they had health insurance and often used his own resources to care for children medically.

Babbitt graduated from UW-RF with a pre-med degree before earning his degree at the Marquette University School of Medicine, now known as Medical College of Wisconsin. He also attended the U.S. Army Medical Field Service School in 1947 before serving as the Chief of Radiology at the 250th Army Station Hospital in Regensberg, Germany, from 1947 to 1949.

Following his service in the Army, Babbitt was a resident at Madigan General Hospital in Fort Lewis, Washington, Milwaukee Children’s Hospital and Milwaukee Hospital working in radiology.

Beginning in 1958, Babbitt was employed at the Medical College of Wisconsin, serving various roles such as instructor in radiology, associate professor of radiology and clinical professor of radiology.

Babbitt had more than 70 works published, gave nearly 60 presentations and created 16 scientific exhibits throughout his career.

In addition to his medical career, Babbitt was also involved in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and was elected an alumnus member in 1968. He was elected fellow of both the American College of Radiology and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was involved in various professional societies including the Milwaukee Academy of Medicine, Wisconsin Radiological Society, Society for Pediatric Radiology and the American Medical Association.

Additionally, Babbitt was involved in the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, a Century member of the Boy Scouts of America and served on the St. Francis Children’s Center Board of Directors.

Other awards Babbitt has received are the Milwaukee Children’s Hospital and Medical College of Wisconsin’s Medical Education Recognition Award, the Who’s Who in the Midwest and Who’s Who in the World.