Harold C. Pillsbury, III, MD, FACS, and William W. Shockley, MD, FACS, were integral members of the UNC Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, serving as the Chair and Founding Vice Chair of our department, respectively. Both have also been incredible teachers and mentors to students, residents, and fellows.
Harold C. Pillsbury, III, MD, FACS—who retired on June 28—saw patients at UNC for more than 40 years. Under his leadership, Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, the number of faculty dramatically increased, and the Department reached a top ten national ranking for Otolaryngology by U.S. News & World Report in 2018.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Pillsbury earned his B.A. and M.D. degrees from George Washington University in Washington, DC (1970 and 1972, respectively). He completed his residency training in Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the University of North Carolina-SOM in 1976.
Following six years at the Yale University School of Medicine, he joined the UNC faculty in 1982 as an Associate Professor. He served as Chief of the Division of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery from 1983 to 2001 when Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery officially became a department. He was the Chair of the Department until 2018.
Dr. Pillsbury’s special field of interest is neurotology, especially cochlear implantation. Dr. Pillsbury performed the first cochlear implant in the State of North Carolina and has performed cochlear implants in over 800 adults and several hundred children. Because of the countless number of patients, families and coworkers he positively impacted, Dr. Pillsbury was awarded North Carolina’s Prestigious Long Leaf Pine Award.
Dr. Pillsbury gave his final Grand Rounds presentation on August 4 entitled: “Principles Which Have Most Influenced My Career 1972-2021,” in which he discussed lessons he learned over the years and offered powerful advice.
William W. Shockley, MD, FACS, celebrated his birthday and retirement on July 30. Dr. Shockley was the founding Vice Chair of the Department, the founding Chief of the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and a W. Paul Biggers Distinguished Professor. He also served as the Vice President of the Southern Section of the Triological Society and the President of the North Carolina Society for Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
Dr. Shockley earned his M.D. from Indiana University School of Medicine in 1976 and completed an internship and a residency in the Department of Surgery at the Good Samaritan Hospital from 1976-78. He also completed a residency in the Department of Otolaryngology-Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Cincinnati from 1978-1981 and a fellowship with the Head and Neck Surgery Associates at Methodist Hospital from 1981-1982.
After teaching at LSU Medical Center from 1982-1989, he joined UNC as an Associate Professor, where he quickly assumed leadership positions within the Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery. He served in several other leadership positions at UNC and nationally, and he developed a solid foundation for the success of facial plastic surgery.
“Dr. Pillsbury and Shockley are stalwarts of UNC Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery and integral to the training of many current and future leaders in Otolaryngology – including me,” said Dr. Wendell Yarbrough, UNC Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery Chair. “They will be dearly missed as they retire, and our debt to them can only be repaid by taking excellent care of our patients, by pushing advances to improve patient care, and through paying forward to the next generation of leaders.”