From IWU Magazine, Fall 2011
Charles Hawker ’62 is honored for
pioneering work in clinical science.
Charles Hawker '62.
Called a “true ambassador in the field of clinical science,” Charles D. Hawker ’62
was presented the Diploma of Honor by the Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS)
at its annual meeting this past spring. First awarded in 1957, the diploma recognizes
scientists who have made “sustained, salient and meritorious contributions to clinical
science and its professional advancement.”
“Dr. Hawker has dedicated much of his career to promoting and advancing our profession,”
says Magali Fontaine, president of ACS, a nonprofit group that promotes education,
research and professional development in clinical science. Charles is a past president,
executive committee member and current secretary of ACS and also past president of
the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB). He also received the John V.
Bergen award from the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, the Professor Alvin
Dubin award from the NACB and the Becton Dickinson award from the Association for
”I was truly honored to receive the Diploma of Honor from the association,” says Charles.
“The ACS is more than 60 years old and is one of the most prestigious laboratory associations
in the country. I have genuinely enjoyed participating in its meetings and governance
over the past 36 years.”
Charles is scientific director of automation and special projects at ARUP Laboratories
at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where he has been for 20 years. A leading
national clinical and anatomic pathology reference laboratory, ARUP has more than
3,000 employees and offers more than 3,000 tests, from routine medical screenings
to highly complex molecular and genetic assays. His work investigating and developing
new automation systems and technologies has helped make ARUP one of the most automated
clinical laboratories in North America. Those systems include an automated transport
and sorting system that can handle 5,000 specimens per hour, a two-story robotic freezer
storage system that holds more than 2.3 million specimens and the world’s first automated
thawing and mixing workcell. Prior to working at ARUP, he held various management
positions over a 20-year span with SmithKline Beecham Clinical Labs in St. Louis and
the Laboratory Procedures Division of the Upjohn Co. in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Charles’ early career was as a research scientist. He developed several new laboratory
tests widely used in the diagnosis of various diseases. In the 1980s he transitioned
into laboratory automation because of its value in improving the quality and efficiency
of laboratory testing. His current research is focused on the development of an automated
camera system for identifying mislabeled patient specimens. His work has been shared
in 40 peer-reviewed papers and he is the author or co-author of four book chapters
on clinical laboratory automation. A frequent lecturer at national and international
conferences, he is also an adjunct professor of pathology at the University of Utah’s
School of Medicine.
Originally from St. Louis, Charles was inducted into his high school’s inaugural Wall
of Fame this October. At Illinois Wesleyan, Charles majored in chemistry, served as
president of Blue Key and was a member of Sigma Chi, Student Senate and the varsity
tennis and swimming teams. About his education at IWU, Charles notes that “it provided
a very strong foundation for my subsequent education and career advancement.” He received
his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from Washington
University in St. Louis. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Patti.