Pioneering Neurosurgeon Chosen as UM-Flint Commencement Speaker

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Dr. Canady
Dr. Canady

A pioneering neurosurgeon will be the keynote speaker at the University of Michigan-Flint’s December 2015 Commencement Ceremony.

Alexa Canady, M.D., a Michigan native, is an accomplished and celebrated leader in the field of pediatric neurology. She became the first female African-American neurosurgeon in the United States.  Canady earned her undergraduate degree in zoology from the University of Michigan in 1971. She graduated cum laude from the university’s medical school in 1975.

“Coming back to commencement and sharing the energy and excitement always reinvigorates me,” Canady said.

She completed her surgical internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital in 1976, and a neurosurgery residency at the University of Minnesota Hospitals in 1981. Canady continued her career with a fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Throughout her career, she has held numerous academic and medical positions, including at Henry Ford Hospital, and Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Canady was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1989.

In 2002, the Detroit News named her the Michiganian of the Year. She has several honorary degrees, including from Central Michigan University, Marygrove College, Roosevelt University, University of Southern Connecticut, University of West Florida, and University of Detroit-Mercy.

“It is such an honor to have Dr. Canady serve as our commencement speaker. Her determination to succeed, her willingness to keep pushing forward beyond every obstacle, and her dedication to her young patients fueled her trailblazing achievements, and serve as excellent lessons for all of us,” said Chancellor Susan E. Borrego.

Canady retired from Children’s Hospital in 2001. After retiring, she moved to Florida. When learning that there were no pediatric neurosurgeons in her immediate area, she began to practice part-time at Pensacola’s Sacred Heart Hospital. Canady was born in Lansing.

“It is always a pleasure to return to Michigan and especially Flint,” she said. “My parents’ best friends lived in Flint and some of my best childhood memories are associated with Flint.”

Robert is a staff writer in University Communications & Marketing. Contact him with comments, questions, and story ideas.