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Colorado CollegeBulletin | March 2006

Staying in Practice to Stay with CC Students

For Tom Mahony ’67, the slogan “know thyself” is a way of life. “Get to know yourself, your strong points and your faults,” Mahony advises students who come to him for orthopedic treatment or to observe surgeries. “Diversify your strong points and become your own person.”

This advice has served Mahony well through all the phases of his own life. After a difficult first year at Colorado College, Mahony learned to apply himself to his zoology-chemistry major. At the University of Colorado Medical School, he enjoyed the clinic more than the lab, so he specialized in orthopedics.

“For me, the patient comes first,” says Mahony. “My main thrust is educating people to take care of themselves: ‘Don’t rely on people to make you better. You must do it yourself.’”

Mahony constantly tries to improve patient healing through innovative techniques. He pioneered the use of the arthroscope and the plastic screw in surgery, as well as conducting clinical research on kinesiology and rehabilitation techniques with CC lecturer Bruce Kola. “We were working on innovations 25 years ago that are just beginning to be used today,” he says.

Despite his renown, Mahony has never left his CC roots. “The reason I’m still in practice is my involvement with CC students,” says Mahony, a guest lecturer in CC physiology classes. “It is rare that I don’t have students observing surgery.” They’re right at home in his office full of CC Tiger memorabilia; Mahony and his wife, Janis Metcalfe ’68, now class secretary and member of the CC Alumni Council, root for the Tigers at home hockey games.

The Mahonys have established a scholarship for pre-med students to help pay for a crucial transition in the lives of many future doctors. “Our goal is to get good kids into medicine,” Mahony says. The Mahony Award for Sports Medicine will go to CC students who demonstrate academic achievement and clinical potential in sports medicine or allied health; this year’s award went to Elize Hiza ’06 and Laura Morgan ’06.