ST. LOUIS - Donald W. Bussmann, M.D., a cardiologist and medical school administrator from 1965 to 1980, died Jan. 17 after a brief illness. He was 90.
|Donald Bussmann, M.D.|
Bussmann joined Saint Louis University as a volunteer member of the cardiology faculty in 1951, and became a full-time faculty member in 1955. An associate professor of internal medicine, Bussmann helped to found the division of cardiology at SLU.
He specialized in the study of heart sounds and murmurs, educating generations of medical students and residents, said Raymond Slavin, M.D., professor of internal medicine, who had worked with Bussmann.
While working as a cardiologist in 1962, Bussmann was approached by then-School of Medicine Dean Goronwy Broun Sr., to serve on the medical school's admissions committee, which awakened in him a passion for student development.
Bussmann went on to become chair of the committee on admissions from 1964 to 1980. He was assistant dean for student affairs from 1965 to 1972, associate dean for admissions and student affairs from 1972 to 1975 and associate dean for admissions from 1975 to 1980.
Upon his retirement, members of the medical school class of 1983 presented Bussmann with a special citation at commencement, calling him "the venerable gatekeeper" of SLU School of Medicine.
"He always tried to save a couple of positions in the medical school class for people he thought would raise the consciousness level of the class," Slavin said. "I don't know of one who failed."
Bussmann admitted a 35-year-old woman who stood with Cesar Chavez against hunger, a nun and an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, Slavin remembered.
While Bussmann noted that grades, a student's premedical college and MCAT scores were important, he also paid close attention to references and evaluations to gauge the personal qualities that make a great physician.
During interviews, he would ask himself questions such as whether the applicant would be willing to get up in the middle of the night to help someone, he said in a 1980 magazine article about his retirement .
"He was a gentle soul," Slavin said.
Bussmann was the husband of the late Elsie Drummond Bussmann; father of the late Donald (Yvonne) Bussmann Jr., M.D., Carl (Patty) Bussmann, M.D., Patsy (Tom) Cecil, Suzie (Michael) Ramey, and the late Mark (Mary) Bussmann. He was the grandfather of 14 and great-grandfather of 16.
Visitation will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Kriegshauser West Mortuary, 9450 Olive Blvd. in Olivette. The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Anselm Parish, 530 S. Mason Road, with a reception to follow immediately. Interment at Calvary Cemetery, 5238 W. Florissant Ave., will follow the reception.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the St. Louis Priory School.