In Memoriam: M. Richard Koenigsberger, MD

M. Richard Koenigsberger, MD

Dr. M. Richard Koenigsberger, who was best known for his contributions to neuroscience and pediatrics, passed away on Sunday, February 17, 2013 after battling with a chronic illness. Dr. Koenigsberger was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala in 1933. He attended Stanford University, achieving a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry in 1955. He then attended the University of Chicago Medical School graduating in 1959. He was among the first to perform service as a Peace Corps volunteer physician, serving in Togo, West Africa.

Dr. Koenigsberger trained in neurology and child neurology at the NIH, the Centre des Rechersches Neonatales in Paris and at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. He remained a member of the faculty of Columbia University from 1968 to 1980, rising to the rank of Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology and Pediatrics. From 1980 to 1999 Dr. Koenigsberger served as Associate Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics at UMDNJ-NJ Medical School, New York/New Jersey. Dr. Koenigsberger returned to Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2000, where his academic rank was Clinical Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics.

His honors have included Teacher of the Year at Harlem Hospital, the Ramon Cajal Prize for Outstanding Contributions to the Iberoamerican Academy of Child Neurology (2000), appointment to the status of professor emeritus at UMDNJ, and the Child Neurology Society Lifetime Achievement Award (2012). Dr. Koenigsberger was a very active and exceptionally effective teacher and mentor for individuals training in child neurology in New York and New Jersey. Over more than four decades he cared for thousands of children. Colorful humor combined with professional rigor made him an unforgettable role model. His academic credentials were further represented by his appointment and service as an examiner for the American Board of Pediatric Neurology.

Dr. Koenigsberger was the author of numerous original papers. As stated by Dr. Darryl De Vivo, the former Chair of Child Neurology at Columbia University, "the selflessness of Dr. Koenigsberger and his unceasing desire to be 'useful' are marks of his great value to our community as a 'consummate academician' – an individual who has a particularly strong nurturing influence on trainees and young faculty members." Integrity and loyalty to his friends made him a revered colleague.

Dr. M. Richard Koenigsberger is survived by his wife, Dorcas; daughters Nicole and Martine Afi, and son, Michael.