Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Dr. Leonard Napolitano ’51, former dean of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on January 7, 2013. Dr. Napolitano was born in 1930 in Oakland, CA, one of three children and the only son of Italian immigrants. He attended Santa Clara University where in 1950, he quarterbacked the Broncos to an upset Orange Bowl win over Bear Bryant’s Kentucky Wildcats. Napolitano earned a PhD. in anatomy from St. Louis University and proceeded to teach at Cornell Medical School and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He moved to New Mexico in 1964 to become one of the seven founding faculty at the newly established School of Medicine at UNM. He became interim Dean of the medical school in 1972 and was named permanent Dean the following year, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 1994. Under his leadership, Dr. Napolitano presided over the dramatic expansion of the medical school and health sciences complex on the North campus of UNM, creating an environment known nationally and internationally for its innovative teaching curriculum. Dr. Napolitano was a highly effective advocate for the medical school at the legislature in Santa Fe. Due to these efforts, the medical school and the associated health sciences campus became one of New Mexico’s chief assets. Among many other honors, Dr. Napolitano received the medical school’s first Living Legend award in 2009. Dr. Napolitano loved opera, Tony Bennett, good food, and good company. He was an avid reader and a passionate supporter of the arts. He loved his family and had deep and enduring friendships all over the world. Dr. Napolitano was preceded in death by his wife Jane. He is survived by his three children, Leonard Jr., Janet ’79 and Nancy, his daughter-in-law Elle, his grandchildren, Carrie, David, William and Sarah Jane, and his longtime companion Thelma Domenici.