2004 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Kenneth E. Salyer, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.A.P.

Wyandotte High School, 1954Kenneth E. Salyer, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.A.P.

Children around the world know the name of Dr. Kenneth Salyer. A leader and pioneer in craniofacial surgery, Salyer has helped treat birth defects and facial deformities in thousands of young patients.

He is the founding chairman and director of the International Craniofacial Institute and Cleft Lip and Palate Treatment Center, Medical City Dallas Hospital. With his support, research and direction, more than 16,000 patients from 75 countries and every state in the U.S. have been treated through this institute.

His ambition and determination are something he acquired growing up in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, he said. He attended Mark Twain Elementary and Wyandotte High School, graduating in 1954.

He said he knew in high school that he wanted to become a doctor, following in the footsteps of his father Dr. Everett Salyer, a Kansas City, Kansas dentist. A family friend who was a surgeon also served as his mentor. He said he had a number of high school teachers, including one math teacher, who gave him reasons to believe in himself. He earned his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1962.

Salyer's accomplishments are extensive. He has contributed more than 175 peer-reviewed scientific articles and chapters in scientific literature. He has co-authored seven books and has given more than 800 presentations at national and international congresses and conferences. He is a member of 50 national and international professional societies and has served in a leadership capacity in many of these organizations. He is the founder of the world Craniofacial Foundation which is dedicated to providing universal care and healing for all children with deformities.

He wants today's students to know that the opportunities available to them are unlimited — all they have to do is believe in themselves.