On May 20, 2005, Dr. Richard F. Edlich, MD, PhD, was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota Medical Alumni Society. It is the purpose of this report to review his academic contributions, which have resulted in dramatic improvements in healthcare in our nation. Dr. Edlich began his general surgical training at the University of Minnesota under the guidance of his beloved mentor, Dr. Owen H. Wangensteen. During his 8-year surgical residency, Dr. Edlich spent 4 years in Dr. Wangensteen's multidisciplinary research laboratory. This unique research opportunity allowed him to initiate a wide variety of important clinical investigations involving the biology of wound repair and infection, the control of gastrointestinal hemorrhage, as well as the revascularization of the ischemic myocardium. After Dr. Edlich completed his 8-year surgical residency training, Dr. Wangensteen selected a 2-year plastic surgical residency at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center for Dr. Edlich, which would allow him to complete his plastic surgical training. During his plastic surgical training and subsequent academic career at the University of Virginia, Dr. Edlich modeled his clinical and research training after that of Dr. Owen Wangensteen. Working with gifted scientists, Dr. Edlich championed the development of revolutionary advances in emergency medical care as well as burn care in our nation. He left the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in 2001 to expand his research interest by participating in a unique multicenter evaluation of surgical products, to accept the special opportunity of being Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants, and to assume a leadership position as Director of Trauma Research, Prevention and Education at Legacy Emanuel Hospital (Portland, Oregon). His academic journey that involves his beloved 2000 students is outlined in this report.