The University of Maryland, College Park’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences mourns the passing of Dr. Milford M. “Mickey” Foxwell Jr. (B.S. ’75, zoology; M.D., ’80). Foxwell served as associate dean of admissions at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) from 1989 to 2018. He died on July 16, 2020 and is survived by his wife, Sue, and son, Louis.
“Mickey Foxwell will always be remembered as a consummate professional who transformed the School of Medicine over his three decades of service,” UMSOM Dean Dr. E. Albert Reece said in a statement. “He consistently set the highest standards of quality and excellence, and served as an outstanding representative of our institution. The UMSOM is what it is today, in part, because of the extraordinary and tireless investment of time and resources that he made.”
Since 1996, more than 1,300 UMD students have been admitted to medical school at UMSOM.
“No one has done more for Terp alumni seeking medical careers than Mickey,” said William Higgins, an associate professor emeritus of biology at UMD. “A loyal Terp for many years, he was always willing to take time from his hectic schedule to come to campus and speak with our students and offer sage advice. The level and impact of his service to future physicians is unmatched. Words cannot express the sadness I feel over the loss of this former student, friend and colleague.”
About Mickey Foxwell Jr.*
Foxwell built a legacy that few in his field can match. In virtually every measure of admissions success—in particular, the quality and diversity of students—UMSOM rose to its highest levels in history during his tenure. He was the “face of UMSOM” to every student who applied to and/or matriculated into the M.D. program at UMSOM over the past three decades and was the most influential administrator in the school in selecting the students who would become future physicians.
After receiving his undergraduate degree in zoology from UMD, Foxwell received his medical degree from UMSOM. He completed his internship in internal medicine at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., and then returned to complete his residency at the University of Maryland Hospital and Baltimore Veterans Administration Medical Center. He joined the faculty of UMSOM as an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and was appointed assistant dean for admissions in 1989 and associate dean in 1990.
For 29 years, he worked diligently to fill roughly 150 seats for the entering class. During his tenure, Foxwell oversaw acceptances of more than 4,000 students—nearly half of the school’s living alumni. He was truly devoted to this appointment, reviewing virtually every application received in the office. He required everyone on the admissions committee to review each application holistically to give anyone who applied to UMSOM an opportunity to advocate for their admission through their application.
He endured long hours of innumerable interviews, countless phone calls requiring great skill and tact, as well as frequent travel to colleges and high schools to recruit the very best diverse student body.
In 1987, Foxwell was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society. In 1988, he received the Golden Apple Award for Best Clinical Professor, an honor bestowed by the Medical School Students. In 2013, Foxwell was elected to the Gold Humanism Honor Society. In 2019, Foxwell was bestowed the honor of the University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Service.
Reflections from UMD Alumni and Staff
“I first met Dr. Foxwell at a premed meet-and-greet in my freshman year of undergrad when he drove down from Baltimore to provide application advice and tips to eager premedical students. My first impression of him was that he was very approachable, able to connect with everyone in the room, and his memory was impeccable,” said Dr. Daniel Ahmad (B.S. ’09, biological sciences; M.D. ’14). “I was fortunate enough to be accepted at UMSOM, and from day one, he kept an open-door policy. I still remember after I aced my first anatomy exam in medical school, he called me later that afternoon to tell me he made the right call to have me be a part of such a competitive and hardworking class. There is nobody quite like him and he will truly be missed.”
“Mickey exemplified the University of Maryland Medical School. He was a fabulous teacher and an extraordinary admissions dean,” said Dr. Scott Katzen (B.S. ’97, microbiology; M.D. ’02). “I remember him from the day we met during my interview. He was such a down-to-earth guy who was very personable and seemed genuinely interested in others. He reminded me of the importance of work-life balance. He was clearly instrumental in my education and career and will be sorely missed.”
“Despite growing up in an era of racial inequality and divide, Dr. Foxwell greatly appreciated, and deeply understood, the need for diverse representation, in all forms, in medicine. And more importantly, he eagerly and deliberately sought out diversity for the school’s pool of applicants. He advocated for me during the admissions process and played an integral role in helping me secure a full tuition scholarship to medical school, for which I am eternally grateful,” said Dr. Yemi Adebayo (B.S. ’08, biological sciences; M.D. ’12). “His kindness and passion for patient care was infectious and helped lay the foundation for many of the principles by which I guide my own practice, even today. I will never forget how humble he was and how accessible he made himself despite his inconceivably busy schedule. He even made time to come to my wedding, which I view as the most incredible gesture of friendship a mentor of his prominence could display. Dr. Foxwell will be missed—not only as a mentor and a dean, but mostly as a friend.”
“The list of things about Mickey that made him special and irreplaceable to me is long and distinguished,” said Wendy Loughlin, assistant dean and director of pre-professional health programs at UMD. “Mickey valued being honest and direct; he would tell me the truth and he expected it in return. Admissions work can seem shrouded in secrecy sometimes, but Mickey’s process was transparent and consistent. In my early years in this position, I called Mickey when I had a question about how to advise an applicant—though not as often as I probably wanted to! He patiently answered my questions and helped me to understand how elements of a student’s decision might be construed when it was time for them to apply to medical school. Thanks to Mickey, over the years, I have been able to help our students to be the kind of individuals that we want to see going into medicine."
* Adapted from UMSOM news release
Media Relations Contact: Abby Robinson, 301-405-5845, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 9,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $200 million.