Dr. N. L. Gault, or Neal to just about everyone he met, passed away on December 11. Dr. Gault was Dean Emeritus of the Medical School and Professor Emeritus of Medicine.
(Pictured: Dr. Gault with his colleagues at Seoul National University, ca. 1960.)
Dr. Gault’s medical education began in Texas, brought him to Minnesota, and then took him on a world wide tour that included Korea, Okinawa, China, New Delhi, and then landed him for a short time as the Associate Dean for the University of Hawaii School of Medicine. In 1972, Dr. Gault returned to Minnesota and served as dean for the Medical School until 1984.
Dr. Gault served as dean during the expansion of the health sciences in the 1970s and early 1980s. It was once said that he lead a major expansion both physical and functional of the Medical School at a time when every basic resource was in full retreat. After completing his service as dean, Dr. Gault continued to be active at the University as a special staff to the Vice President for Health Sciences and as an advocate for the Minnesota Medical Foundation and Medical School alumni. He also maintained his international interests by serving as the Honorary Consul General of Japan for Minnesota.
I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Gault several times over the past few years. He was well aware of the role of archives and the importance of preserving the historical record. Even during his tenure as dean, Dr. Gault personally and diligently transferred office records from the Medical School to the archives. I told him that his attention to record keeping must have been a result of his early training at Adjutant General School for the Air Force (after serving as Adjutant for a 1,000 bed hospital during the war at the age of 23).
Whenever Dr. Gault was asked what propelled him from rural Texas to an internationally renowned medical education specialist, he consistently answered that it was the opportunity for an education that he found at the University of Minnesota.