Richard J. Cenedella, Ph.D.
2006 Living Tribute Award Recipient
For Richard J. Cenedella, Ph.D., building a lasting legacy at A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) began on day one. Charged with rebuilding the biochemistry department from scratch, Dr. Cenedella has spent his time from then until now constructing a legacy of teaching and research.
When he first came to ATSU-KCOM, Dr. Cenedella brought with him a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). That specific grant focused on cancer research, but the support from NIH has continued as Dr. Cenedella has moved into research on the ocular lens. “We have enjoyed 35 years of NIH grant support, and we have published more than 100 research papers,” Dr. Cenedella said.
The hard work has also resulted in some deserved acknowledgement, including the American Osteopathic Association’s Gutensohn/Denslow Award for Research and Teaching in 1990, honorary Kirksville Osteopathic Alumni Association (KOAA) membership in 1994, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society “Researcher of the Year” in 2001, the KOAA Distinguished Service Award in 2003, and many others.
Though Dr. Cenedella is an accomplished and decorated researcher, his first priority was and always has been teaching. His most cherished award is the “Golden P” Professor of the Year Award which he received in 1988. “Teaching is more challenging than research because of the interaction with other people,” he said. “It forces you to change yourself, whereas with research you can just do another experiment.”
After recently stepping down as the biochemistry chair, Dr. Cenedella reflected on his 30-year legacy as the department’s leader. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is humility,” he said. “The knowledge base in biochemistry today is a world apart from 1976. Ninety percent of the knowledge has arisen in the last 30 years.” That has influenced Dr. Cenedella to focus more on teaching concepts and making education more of a person-to-person experience for each of his students. “I try to be a mentor, both in the classroom and in the department. I try to lead by example.”
Regarding the past recipients of the Living Tribute Award, Dr. Cenedella said he was humbled. “That is pretty powerful company,” he said. “I can only hope to live up to it.”
Established in 1969, the Living Tribute Award provides alumni and friends of the College an opportunity to support outstanding KCOM faculty and administrators. All donations in honor of Dr. Cenedella are restricted for the KOAA/KCOM Education Program Fund.
Please use the ATSU giving form to make your contribution. Dr. Cenedella will be notified of those who give in his honor.