Dr. Louis Pyle, former health services director, dies

Jan. 18, 2002 6:45 p.m.

A memorial service for Dr. Louis Pyle Jr., a 1941 Princeton graduate who formerly served as director of the University Health Services and director of athletic medicine, is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Trinity Church in Princeton.

Pyle died Jan. 14 at his home in Princeton at age 81.

A pediatrician in private practice in northern New Jersey from 1953 until 1971, Pyle then engaged in an extensive and successful career in university health and sports medicine at Princeton from 1971 until his retirement in 1999.

In 1971, Pyle was appointed associate director of the University Health Services, where he was in charge of its clinical services. He was also appointed the first director of its sexuality education, counseling and health program, where he led the establishment of specific health services especially for women after Princeton became coeducational. In 1976, Pyle was appointed director of athletic medicine, overseeing the University's entire sports medicine practice and serving as team physician for the varsity football, basketball and hockey teams.

Pyle was appointed director of the health services and an officer of the University in 1977, a role in which he modernized the University's delivery of campus health services, expanded the integration of the health services with the area's larger medical community, and continued the advancement of clinical and athletic medicine. His achievements at Princeton included the creation of 10 new or expanded medical programs and the promotion of equal access to health care through prepaid health fees and mandatory insurance. He also guided the health service to accreditation with the Accreditation Association of Ambulatory Health Care and to a position among national leaders in college health. His tenure as director was so successful that the University twice extended his term beyond the customary retirement age.

Commenting on Pyle's service, former Princeton provost and former Harvard University president Neil Rudenstine said, "It was difficult to imagine how anyone could oversee a college health service with such humane vision and sensibility on the one hand and marvelous competence on the other. He did more than practice medicine for students; he gave them a sense what a physician in the broadest sense could be and should be. That was a great gift to Princeton."

A Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Pyle was an active member of the American College Health Association, which he served as chairman of its sports medicine section. In 1991, the ACHA presented Pyle with its Ollie B. Morten Award for distinguished service, citing his innovative leadership among college health professionals, his establishment of a vigorous health education program at Princeton and his initiation of support for many critical collegiate health care issues, including alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders counseling, and sexual harassment and assault education and counseling.

Pyle was a trustee emeritus of the Hun School in Princeton. His other community service included membership on the medical advisory board of Planned Parenthood of Mercer County, part-time directorship of the Monsignor Wall Drug Treatment Center in Hackensack and membership on the teaching staff of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick.

Survivors include his son Thomas of Princeton, a 1976 Princeton University graduate; daughter Sally of Bloomington, Ill.; and daughter Elizabeth of Newport Beach, Calif.

Contributions in lieu of flowers may be directed to the Princeton University Class of 1941 Scholarship Fund (c/o Recording Secretary, Princeton University, Box 140, Princeton, NJ 08544), the Hun School (c/o The Scholarship Fund, 176 Edgerstoune Road, Princeton, NJ 08540) or the National Audubon Society (c/o Living Tribute, 700 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10003).

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601