Dr. John M. Matsen, Former VP Health Sciences, Dean, Department Chair and Founding Member of ARUP, 86 Dies

Mike Thelin

Mike Thelin
Editor, History of the Health Sciences

James MatsenJohn M. Matsen M.D. 1933-2019

The Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library notes the passing of Dr. John M. Matsen on November 9, 2019. Dr. Matsen received his B.S. from Brigham Young University in 1958. Dr. Matsen obtained his M.D. degree in 1963 from UCLA where he served both his internship and residency (1963-66). Dr. Matsen was Assistant Professor, and later, Professor of Laboratory Medicine, Pathology, Pediatrics, and Microbiology at the University of Minnesota from 1968-74. Dr. Matsen joined the University of Utah School of Medicine in 1974 as Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology.

Dr. Matsen served as Director of Clinical Laboratories at the University from 1974-90, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1979-81. In 1981, Dr. Matsen was named Chair of the Department of Pathology serving in that capacity until 1993. Dr. Matsen was Vice President for Health Sciences from 1993-98 and Dean of the School of Medicine from 1998-99.

It was during Dr. Matsen’s time as Chair of the Department of Pathology that the Associated Regional and University Pathologists Laboratories (ARUP) was incorporated as a non-profit entity of the University (1983). Dr. Matsen was named ARUP’s first CEO and President in 1984, overseeing the laboratories operations until stepping down in 1993. From 1993-99 Dr. Matsen served as Chair of ARUP’s Board of Directors. The original mission of ARUP was to furnish financial support for the Department and be a source of funding for the University Hospital and School of Medicine by providing pathology consulting services. Over time, those important original objectives were further expanded which have led to ARUP becoming one of the foremost clinical and pathology reference laboratories in the United States. From its modest intramural beginnings, ARUP, under Dr. Matsen’s leadership, today enjoys an international reputation as an exceptional center for research, education, and diagnostic testing.

During his long professional career, Dr. Matsen was the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. He was most recently inducted into the Utah Technology Council Hall of Fame and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University. The Presidential Endowed Chair of Pathology is named in Dr. Matsen’s honor.

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