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Patricia L. Jakobi

COPELAND, MURRAY MARCUS (1902–1982). Murray Marcus Copeland, cancer specialist, was born in McDonough, Georgia, in 1902. He received a B.S. from Oglethorpe University in 1923 and an M.D. from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1927. He was also trained in surgery and oncology at the Mayo Clinic Memorial Hospital for Cancer in New York City and Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. In 1955 he received an honorary D.Sc. from Oglethorpe. His position as clinical instructor at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Medical School (1937–42) was interrupted by World War II, when he took command of the 142nd General Hospital in the South Pacific. He was discharged as a colonel in 1945 and received the Legion of Merit. After the war Copeland was professor of oncology and chairman of the Department of Oncology at Georgetown University School of Medicine (1947–60). While in Washington, D.C., he also served as consultant in surgery for Gallinger Municipal Hospital and Special Consultant to the Public Health Service, Cancer Control Branch.

In 1960 he joined the M. D. Anderson Hospital for Cancer Research (see UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SYSTEM CANCER CENTER) as professor of surgery, associate director of education, and vice president for international affairs of the University Cancer Foundation. At the age of 69 he was asked to assume the directorship of the National Large Bowel Cancer Project, a position he held for ten years (1971–81).

Copeland was the author of more than 170 scientific articles. With Charles F. Geschickter he wrote Tumors of the Bone (three editions-1931, 1936, and 1949). He was the recipient of twelve national and international awards, including the President's Medal (1965) and the Distinguished Service Award (1972) from the American Cancer Society. In 1964–65 he was national president of the American Cancer Society, and in 1970 he served as secretary general of the Congress of the International Union Against Cancer. He was the first chairman of the American Joint Committee for Cancer Staging and End Result Reporting. The second edition of the Manual for Staging in Cancer (1983) is dedicated to Copeland's memory. In 1931 Copeland married Jean Brown. They had no children. He died on April 2, 1982, after a long illness, at Hermann Hospital in Houston.


Houston Post, April 3, 1982. Reference Folder, Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library, Harris County Medical Archive. Texas Medicine, August 1982.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Patricia L. Jakobi, "COPELAND, MURRAY MARCUS," accessed July 11, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcock.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on August 24, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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