Marguerite Thompson Hays


Honorary Degree (1979)
Doctor of Science
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: John William Ryan


As Assistant Chief Medical Director for Research and Development for the Veterans Administration, Marguerite Thompson Hays is one of the principal medical administrators in the federal government. Prior to her recent promotion, she served as Director of the Veteran Administration's Medical Research Service. In that capacity, she was responsible for the initiation and maintenance of research projects involving over 130 hospitals, for financial expenditures in excess of $100 million annually, and for the quality control of research projects involving at least 3,000 individual principal investigators.

Born in Bloomington, Marguerite Hays is the daughter of Louise and Stith Thompson, Distinguished Professor of English and Folklore at Indiana University. Graduating from the University High School, Marguerite Hays attended Radcliffe College where she earned her A.B. degree in 1951. She completed her M.D. degree at the U.C.L.A. School of Medicine in 1957. Her postdoctoral work, in which she specialized in endocrinology, also was done at U.C.L.A., where Dr. Hays accepted her first teaching and research appointments. Dr. Hays remained in California until 1968, when her career in research and teaching took her to New York, to the State University at Buffalo, where she held positions in the departments of Biophysical Sciences and of Medicine. While holding these academic appointments, Dr. Hays was also associated with the Nuclear Medicine Service at the Buffalo Veterans Administration Hospital. Until 1977, she remained Clinical Associate Professor of Nuclear Medicine at S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo, although by that time she had undertaken additional administrative duties with the Veterans Administration. Throughout her career, her research in the field of nuclear medicine and endocrinology has produced a distinguished body of work: she has authored or co-authored some twenty-six articles and has written thirty abstracts.

Despite the various and heavy demands of her current position, Dr. Hays continues to engage actively in research. Moreover, as an administrator she has greatly enhanced the Veterans Administration research program which, more than many other such programs, operates on the basis of direct relationships between central administration, the research laboratories, and the clinical investigations. In order to maintain high research and clinical standards, Dr. Hays developed a computerized system for linking the large number of nationally-distributed investigations undertaken by the Veterans Administration. Such a system not only provides for more efficient management, it also permits the thousands of individual investigators to exchange information, to submit their work for peer review, and to collaborate effectively with each other in a widely diverse and geographically scattered research program. So successful is the Veterans Administration research program that during Dr. Hays' tenure as Director of Medical Research, individual investigators received two Nobel prizes, four Lasker awards, and many other national and international honors, including the highest scientific awards offered by the French and German republics.

With her knowledge and experience, Dr. Hays has frequently been called upon to serve on many committees which function as regulatory and advisory bodies. For example, Dr. Hays served as Chairperson of the Federal Drug Administration's Radioactive Pharmaceuticals Advisory Committee from 1974-1977. She has held a variety of executive positions in the Society of Nuclear Medicine and is currently a member of its Board of Trustees and Chairperson of its publication committee. She is a member of the National Advisory Council of the National Institute for General Medical Sciences, and of the American Thyroid Association.

Dr. Hays makes her home in Washington, D.C., where she lives with her three children.