Tom Stillman

Tom Stillman

Athlete Class of 1956

Throughout my lifetime I have enjoyed playing golf and tennis, however, swimming has always been my favorite pastime sports activity. Competitive swimming began at age 10 when I was on the Minneapolis YMCA swim team until entering high school. My favorite stroke was the butterfly breaststroke and I won several medals while competing in summer swimming events around the state. During my high school years, my summers were spent being a lifeguard and teaching swimming at a public beach. My Southwest High School swimming career will always stand out as a memorable time in my life. While on the swim team, the butterfly continued to be my chosen stroke and I was able to letter four years in swimming and one year in tennis while attending Southwest. In 1956, my senior year, I served as captain of the swim team and placed first in the city and state championship competitions. I was also honored by receiving the Mercury Jewish Athlete of the Year Award my senior year. I left competitive swimming after completing one year on the University of Minnesota freshman swim team.

After obtaining a degree in medicine at the University of Minnesota, I will be completing a 55 year career practicing medicine and teaching medical students and post graduate residents and fellows at Hennepin County Medical Center. I am a Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, and after retiring at the end of this year, I will be the first to be honored with the title of Emeritus Professor, Hennepin County Medical Center. During my medical career I received several teaching awards, culminating with the Lifetime Achievement Teaching Award given by the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Over a span of 10 years, working with the nonprofit organization Free the Children based in Canada, I traveled several times to rural areas in Kenya. I helped with the building of schools and was involved in establishing healthcare facilities that included medical triage clinics, a pediatric and maternal health care center, and recently a small hospital staffed by volunteer physicians from Nairobi. In addition my clinical research included the echocardiographic studying of high school girls with undiagnosed rheumatic heart disease.

As I approach retirement, I have continued to look to swimming as my fitness activity up to my current age of 81.

I am truly honored and humbled by being inducted into the Southwest High School Athletic Hall of Fame. This will always stand out as a highlight within my lifetime.