Perry G. Rigby, MD

Class Year



Posted on: July 9, 2018

Dr. Perry G. Rigby, a specialist in blood and blood-related disorders who was chancellor of LSU Medical Center in New Orleans for nine years, died May 10, 2018, at his New Orleans home. He was 85.

Dr. Rigby, who was dean of LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport for three years before coming to New Orleans in 1985, moved to Louisiana after holding academic and administrative positions for 14 years at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine in Omaha.

When Dr. Rigby stepped down in 1994, LSU System President Allen Copping said he accepted the resignation “with a heavy heart” and added, “He has served LSU Medical Center admirably.”

When Dr. Rigby left the chancellorship, he was named the medical center’s director of health care systems to gauge the impact that changes in national health care could have on LSU. In 1987, he was named chairman of the state Medical Education Commission.

Dr. Rigby, who had a private practice, was a professor of medicine and director of the hematology/oncology fellowship program. “He loved to teach,” said Dr. Donna Ryan, professor emerita of medicine at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. “Nothing made him happier than going around with medical students and residents to see the patients and talk to them and teach the residents how to work up the patients who had blood disorders.”

In a profession known for people with sharp elbows and strong egos, Dr. Rigby’s demeanor provided a marked contrast, Ryan said. “There was something about Perry that was sort of naive. He wasn’t scheming or political with ambitions and self-promotion. He was a straight shooter.”

A native of East Liverpool, Ohio, Dr. Rigby earned an undergraduate degree at Mount Union College (now the University of Mount Union) in Alliance, Ohio, and a medical degree at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He completed postgraduate training at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and Massachusetts Memorial Hospital in Boston.

A fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and the American College of Physicians, Dr. Rigby received the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation’s Mentor of the Year Award in 2017. Case Western Reserve University designated him a distinguished alumnus in 1987.

Dr. Rigby enjoyed playing tennis and listening to music.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara Commander Rigby; three sons, Peter, Matthew and Thomas; a daughter, Martha; and 10 grandchildren.