Posted March 27, 2021

John M. Daly, dean and dean emeritus, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Throughout his distinguished career, John M. Daly cared for thousands of cancer patients and mentored numerous research trainees. 

Dean Daly standing before a window with a view of the Philadelphia skyline.
Photography By: 
Joseph V. Labolito
John Daly, dean of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, passed away Friday, less than two months after returning to the role he held for nine years previously.

During the course of his long and distinguished career, John M. Daly cared for thousands of patients who have cancer. Reflecting on this work he said, “From that experience, I am not only a better physician, a better surgeon, but a better man.”

Daly had a multi-faceted career. In addition to his role as dean, he was the Harry C. Donahoo Professor of Surgery, and was internationally known as a surgeon whose clinical work and research span the fields of surgical oncology, metabolism and nutrition. Daly led multiple medical associations, including the American College of Surgeons (vice president), the American Surgical Association (vice president), the Society of Surgical Oncology (president), the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (president), the New York Surgical Society (president), and the American Cancer Society (president, Philadelphia Chapter).

He was listed numerous times among the “Best Doctors in New York and Philadelphia” and “318 Top Cancer Specialists for Women.” Over the course of his career, Daly received more than $20 million in research grants, predominantly from the National Institutes of Health. He authored more than 250 peer-reviewed publications and 100 book chapters, edited several books, and served on the editorial boards of dozens of medical publications.

An internationally recognized educator, Daly mentored numerous research trainees—a number of whom have risen to become chairs of surgery departments. He was awarded honorary fellowships in the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of both Glasgow and Ireland, and received many other teaching awards for his dedication to both medical students and surgical residents.

A native of Philadelphia, Daly earned his bachelor’s degree in biology cum laude from La Salle University and graduated AOA from Temple University’s School of Medicine in 1973. He completed his surgical training at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he later joined the faculty.

Daly then moved to New York to join the faculty at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from 1980 to 1986, followed by a move to Philadelphia to become the Jonathan E Rhoads Professor of Surgery and chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1993, Daly was recruited by Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York to serve as the  Stimson Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery, concurrent with his post as chief of surgery at New York Hospital. 

Daly then returned to Philadelphia to become dean of his medical alma mater, the School of Medicine at Temple University. He served in the role from 2002 to 2011, and upon stepping down as dean, returned to the practice of surgical oncology as the Harry C. Donahoo Professor of Surgery and dean emeritus for eight years at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, specializing in the care of patients with cancers of the gastrointestinal tract and breast. During this time, he also chaired the Institutional Review Boards for Human Research at both Fox Chase and Temple University, in addition to teaching students and residents.

In 2019, Daly became one of 91 surgeons from seven countries to be inducted into the inaugural group of Master Surgeon Educators of the American College of Surgeons.

Also in 2019, he was appointed the interim dean of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. Less than two months ago, he was returned to the title of dean. 

Daly is survived by his wife Palma, six children and several grandchildren.

Join us in sharing your memories of Dean Daly or making a gift in his honor.