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Dr. Francis P. Chiaramonte, the founder of what is now MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, died Sunday. He was 84.
Chiaramonte, a native of New York, founded the hospital in 1977. He was known across the region for his dedication to public health and community service, evidenced in his donations to area groups such as the College of Southern Maryland and Health Partners in Waldorf.
On CSM’s La Plata campus, the science and technology building is named in the doctor’s honor. CSM President Bradley Gottfried said Chiaramonte’s donation for the construction of the building was the largest charitable donation the college has ever received.
“We had a bond that I don’t normally have with other individuals,” Gottfried said Wednesday. “One of the highlights of my presidency here was the unveiling of the building in his honor. ... The family was so proud that day. His name will be on that building forever.”
Gottfried said Chiaramonte’s contributions will forever be vital to the college.
“The college can do things that it wouldn’t have been able to without the support of the Chiaramonte family,” Gottfried said. “He was a very special man with some very special gifts, and he was always willing to share. We were able to be blessed by his giving.”
Last year, the foundation established in the doctor’s name donated $75,000 to Health Partners. The group will receive the same amount of money each year for the next two years. Former Health Partners physician and board member Dr. Howard Haft said such a contribution is typical of Chiaramonte’s spirit.
“He absolutely was a pioneer in so many ways. At the time, the hospital was the only privately physician-owned hospital in the state, and one of very few in the country,” Haft said Thursday. “It was iconic in that way. It’s one of the longest standing and one of the best. He was a very skilled physician and businessman, but also an excellent clinician, and an incredible supporter of his community. He gave to ... so many charitable organizations. There are so few people in the world who could make the contributions he did. He stands in my mind as one of the most incredible people I’ve known. The impact that he had was just incredible.”
In a hospital press release, Chiaramonte’s son, Michael, the current CEO of the hospital, spoke of his father’s influence.
“I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the privilege of learning from him as his son and employee,” Michael Chiaramonte said. “His tireless dedication to the residents of Southern Maryland as a brilliant surgeon, philanthropist, and visionary hospital founder, changed thousands of lives for the better. To say he will be missed is an understatement.”
Services for Chiaramonte will be held Saturday in Clinton.