Honoring Dr. Folse

J. Roland Folse, MD, Endowed Chair of Surgery

J. Roland Folse, MD, has been single-minded in his life's ambition of wanting to serve humanity. He is a visionary who dreamed of building a Department of Surgery for the community. As a pioneer physician of SIU School of Medicine, Dr. Folse has realized his dream and made the Department of Surgery a recognized leader in health care.

For nearly three decades, Dr. Folse has shared his professionalism, dedication and expertise with hundreds of students and residents and thousands of patients. He has created an opportunity for community and university doctors to work together as a cohesive unit. Dr. Folse arrived at the newly established SIU School of Medicine in 1971 following an extensive national search for a Department of Surgery Chairman. And, according to Dr. Folse's wife Hazen, from the moment he stepped on the newly-founded School of Medicine campus, he knew it was the right place for him.

Dr. Folse's visions and contributions for SIU


Since his arrival over 30 years ago, Dr. Folse's foresight and energy have helped mold SIU's Department of Surgery into an innovative health care provider. His dream of a better medical school has been realized through his remarkable efforts both as a surgeon and as an educator. As one of the medical school's pioneer physicians, Dr. Folse was integral in forging SIU into an acclaimed medical institution, serving as chair for the Department of Surgery and also as a professor for the Department. In addition, he served as the School of Medicine's medical director for five years.

Professionally, Dr. Folse has devoted himself to researching chronic pain, problems of the lungs, esophagus and thyroid, as well as vascular and cardiac physiology. He has received numerous honors and awards for his teaching and research efforts, including six consecutive awards for Excellence in Teaching in the Department of Surgery. Other achievements include two lectureships established in his honor. Dr. Folse has become a driving force in surgical education across the country. He has published more than 80 articles and participates in numerous national organizations.

Dr. Folse has enjoyed the challenge of building the Department of Surgery that meets the mission of SIU as a community-based medical school. His pioneer spirit has been a continual source of inspiration in the development of the SIU Surgical Department from its origins to its current successes in eight surgical divisions offering exemplary clinical service.

Dr. Folse's distinguished career

Dr. Folse's distinguished career has taken him all across the United States. Born in Texas, he began his medical career in Baltimore, Maryland, where he received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins Medical School and also completed a surgical internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. At the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Folse served two years in the United States Public Health Services as the Senior Assistant Surgeon.

On the West Coast, Dr. Folse completed his surgical residency and later became chief resident at the University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals in Seattle. He later became an associate professor of surgery at the University of Washington Medical School.

On the personal side, Dr. Folse has devoted himself to his now late wife, Hazen, and their four children, who reflect Dr. Folse's love for medicine and also his creative flair. Though retired from surgery, Dr. Folse is maintaining his hands-on dexterity with his numerous hobbies that include growing bonsai trees, gardening, painting, bass fishing, making pottery and doing woodwork. He also enjoys spending time with his grandchildren.

Uses of The J. Roland Folse, MD, Chair of Surgery Funds

Now the opportunity arises for other faculty to carry on his work with the establishment of the J. Roland Folse, MD, Chair of Surgery. The endowed chair distinction is the highest honor the School can bestow on prominent faculty members. The endowment provides these faculty members with resources for research and teaching activities to achieve the highest level of excellence in their scholarly activities including:

  • A Surgical Education Fellowship
  • SIU/U.S. Surgical Skills Training and Research Center
  • SIU Faculty Development Center for Surgical Education
  • Ongoing educational research activities

For over thirty years, Dr. Folse has devoted himself to making SIU into an outstanding medical institution. This endowment provides an opportunity to say "Thank You" to Dr. Folse for all his hard work in shaping SIU. The endowment will also let future students, residents, and patients continue to benefit from extraordinary physicians like Dr. Folse. Your donation will sustain Dr. Folse's legacy of excellence.

Making your gift

The goal of the J. Roland Folse, MD, Endowed Chair of Surgery campaign is to raise one million dollars, making it the first endowed chair in the history of SIU School of Medicine. Click the Donate Now button to visit the online giving page. If you have questions or need more information you can also contact the Foundation at 217-545-2955.