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Dr. Vanderlaan

The Playhouse family lovingly remembers past Board Chair and advocate

Willard P. VanderLaan, M.D.
Board Chair: 1985; 1987-88; 1992-93

Willard P. VanderLaan graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1942. A prominent endocrinologist at the Lutcher Brown Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, Dr. VanderLaan also worked at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, the American Thyroid Association and the Whittier Institute for Diabetes and Endocrinology. In 1993 he was awarded The Endocrine Society’s Robert H. Williams Distinguished Leadership Award. He also served as a reviewer for the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. During his tenure at La Jolla Playhouse, he chaired the search committee to hire Des McAnuff as Artistic Director, whose artistic vision rocketed the Playhouse to national prominence.

“Willard VanderLaan makes me think of a line from the Aaron Sorkin play The Farnsworth Invention: "music is what mathematics does on Saturday night." Bill was a great man of science and a great man of the arts. He was an indefatigable and courageous leader of La Jolla Playhouse during our most challenging times, when we were trying to create a workable financial model to accompany our audacious artistic endeavors. It is no joke to say that the Playhouse would very likely not exist without Bill's spectacular vision, his tireless fundraising and his deep-seated belief in its goals. He was an unforgettable San Diegan and a true friend, and he will be greatly missed.” --Des McAnuff, La Jolla Playhouse Director Emeritus