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Dr. Gabe

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The article below is courtesy of the Princeton University Office of Health Professions Advising. Edited by the Princeton University Office of Athletic Communications.

Princeton University welcomed Dr. Gabe Lewullis '99 back to campus for a reception hosted by the Office of Health Professions Advising and Rockefeller College on April 17. Lewullis, who was co-captain of Princeton's 1998-99 men's basketball team and a member of three Ivy League title winners, may be best known at Princeton for a backdoor layup he made to help seal Princeton's NCAA Tournament first-round victory over UCLA in 1996.

Lewullis, who majored in molecular biology as an undergraduate, is now a resident in orthopedic surgery at Drexel in Philadelphia. Another member of those successful mid-1990s Princeton teams who has also achieved success in his chosen career, current Princeton head men's basketball coach Sydney Johnson '97, attended the reception in appreciation of his two-year teammate.

Lewullis spoke frankly and compellingly about his Princeton years as a student-athlete and about his ensuing experiences in medical school to an audience of about 20 students, including some varsity student-athletes, who are considering health professions. The students smiled when Lewullis spoke about his course selections and MCAT preparation.

"You learn at Princeton what you have to do to get the job done, and to do what you love," Lewullis said. "For me, I also learned to get yelled at by my coach, which has meant that no matter how hard it can be in the O.R. now, I know I can handle it."

Lewullis reminded students of the strength of Princeton's alumni community.

"There are so many people who want to give back to students and be connected to this place. They can offer you advice, exposure, and you get to see what it's like to be in their shoes.

If only they could all do it with the ease and humility of Dr. Lewullis.

Reflecting on lessons he learned as a student-athlete at Princeton, Lewullis recalled that a summer internship with a physician gave him the idea for his senior thesis on the evolution of the human foot.

"You have to be willing to look for ideas in unexpected places," Lewullis told the students. "And gradually, you find out what interests you."

Lewullis described himself as a "go in and do something kind of guy," which led him to pursue the surgical path he is on now. He says his layup isn't quite what it used to be, but he still plays when he's not making rounds. While his victories may be less public these days, Dr. Gabe Lewullis is a shining example of Princeton academics and athletics as preparation for a career in service to others.

"The idea of being on a team," Lewullis said "you get that at Princeton, and it never goes away."