Founders’ Bios


E. Grey Dimond


DrDimond-medE. Grey Dimond was born on December 8, 1918, his mother’s birthday, while she was Christmas shopping in St. Louis. The Dimonds came from a prominent southern family, and six days later returned home to Winona, Mississippi. They moved to Terre Haute, Indiana when E. Grey was seven. Dimond always knew he wanted to be a physician, and the process was accelerated from the start. He entered medical school at the University of Indiana in 1941, six weeks before America entered World War II.  Wartime caused four years of medical school to be condensed into 36 rigorous months with no spring or summer breaks.  Dimond’s specialization in cardiology was similarly early and intense. At I.U., he took a job reading medical journals aloud to the chief cardiologist, Dr. Harry Baum, who was going blind. In what became essentially private tutoring sessions, Dimond came to thoroughly know the heart, its diseases, who was who in cardiology, and their latest research. He also became skilled at reading EKGs, and gained rare clinical exposure observing some of Dr. Baum’s most challenging cardiac patients.

This full immersion in cardiology led Dimond to be appointed Chief of Cardiology of the Far East Command in Tokyo for his required two-year military service straight out of medical school. After his tour of duty in Japan, Dimond became a Clinical Fellow under renowned cardiologist Paul Dudley White at Massachusetts General Hospital.  In 1950, at age 31, he became Director of the Cardiovascular Laboratory at the University of Kansas Medical School when the entire cardiology department consisted of one EKG machine, one technician, and one wooden Adirondack chair (of the type usually found in American backyards).  In 1953, he also became KU’s Chairman of the Department of Medicine, the youngest in the country.  In 1960 he became the Director of the Institute for Cardiopulmonary Disease, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, in La Jolla, California.

Dimond was a very early president of the American College of Cardiology in 1961, and developed the ACC Postgraduate Course for the Consultant, which he taught twice a year in Rancho Santa Fe, CA from 1966 to 1980, and annually from 1981 to 1986.  He also produced a monthly ACC audiotape, “ACCEL,” from 1967-1977.

Dimond’s equal concern was improving medical education.  On sabbatical leave in 1967, he was Scholar-in-Residence at the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D.C.  In 1968, he was Special Consultant in Medical Education to the Assistant Secretary of Health, HEW.  Dimond was recruited to found a brand new medical school at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.  He created the program’s six-year, combined baccalaureate and medical degree program, modeled on his own (successful) accelerated wartime experience.  Dimond served as UMKC’s first Provost for Health Sciences.  The UMKC Medical School now has more than 3,000 graduates. [1]

An internationalist with a special interest in US-China relations, Dimond has led five overseas diplomatic and educational trips on behalf of the State Department, and in 1971 was one of the first American physicians invited to visit China after 25 years of the Bamboo Curtain.  This visit was arranged by Dimond’s friend Edgar Snow, author of “Red Star Over China.” As the relationship between China and the USA improved, Dimond was able to negotiate a contract between the American Medical Association and the Chinese Medical Association for the printing of JAMA in Chinese: “CLEJAMA.” His travels have included 40 trips to Asia, more than half of those to China. Two special dividends from China are an adopted Chinese daughter, Dr. Joan Wu Tung, and an honorary Chinese name: “Di-MUN-deh”.

Among Dr. Dimond’s lifetime awards have been: Fulbright Professor to the Netherlands, 1956; Paul Dudley White Traveling Scholar, 1956; Distinguished Service Award and Gifted Teacher Award, American College of Cardiology; Distinguished Professor of Medicine, University of Missouri; Scholar-in-Residence Rockefeller Center, Bellagio, Italy; Honorary Professor, Shanghai Second Medical Center and the Fu Wai National Heart Hospital, Beijing. He has published 18 books, including his book on electrocardiography that appeared in four editions, and his autobiography, Take Wing: Interesting Things that Happened on My Way to School.

Dr. Dimond took special pride and pleasure in his three daughters, Sherri, Lark and Lea, his step-daughter and god-daughter Molly, and his Chinese adopted daughter Joan. His hobbies through the years (most performed at or near the professional level) included writing, wood-carving, gardening, and traveling the world. Dimond lived happily with his two black cats and an endless supply of good books at Diastole Scholars’ Center.  He was well into his mid 90’s when he passed away on November 3, 2013.  The Diastole Scholars’ Center,  a retreat facility he created with his late wife Mary Clark Dimond to serve as a gathering place for UMKC, Hospital Hill, and the community continues to fulfill the mission that he created.

[1] Dimond summarized the first 20 years of the medical school experience in two major medical journals: JAMA, “The UMKC Medical Education Experiment,” August 19, 1988; and The Pharos, “The New Path to Medical Education at Age 21: the Kansas City Experiment,” Summer 1993, volume 6, number 3, pages 17–20.

Mary Clark Dimond

Mary Dimond(1916 -1983)

The rich and full but too brief life of Mary Dwight Clark Dimond seemed driven by advice she received as a Radcliff student from professor and friend Alfred North Whitehead; “one should not stand still in life, but, on the contrary, have the courage to leave behind that which was happy and secure, move on, and take up the new challenge.”  Mary D., as she was affectionately known, never stood still and continued to take up the new challenge to her last day.  In the words of her husband, E. Grey Dimond, “Mary D. was different – extremely bright, wonderfully sensitive, unshaking in loyalty – and complex.”   These qualities shone through in each of the many and varied roles Mary Clark Dimond embraced with trademark exuberance throughout her life.

As a daughter, Mary D.’s devotion to her father, distinguished lawyer and champion of world peace, Grenville Clark, was perhaps the strongest of all her characteristics.  Committed to the preservation of Clark’s work and memory, Mary D. collected and assembled his papers to be permanently housed at Dartmouth College. The collection remains available to scholars in Dartmouth’s beautiful Rauner Special Collections building.   She founded the Grenville Clark Fund at Dartmouth to award citizens of the world who exemplified her father’s ideals of furthering world peace, good government, academic freedom, civil rights, and personal liberty.  Awardees included George Kennan, noted Cold War diplomat; Jean Monnet, founder of the European Common Market; Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, president of Notre Dame; Jack Greenberg, director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Sydney Kentridge, civil rights activist; and Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Mary D. published a collection of essays by distinguished friends of Clark, Memoirs of a Man, and worked closely with author Gerald Dunne on his official biography, Grenville Clark, Public Citizen.  A final grace note she added to her father’s legacy was successfully lobbying Congress for the issuance of a commemorative 39c postage stamp, honoring “one of the nation’s foremost advocates of peace through world federalism.”

As a mother, Mary D.’s early adult life was enthusiastically focused on raising her five children: Claire, Louisa, Grenville, Molly, and Thomas.  She later showed the same devotion to three daughters acquired through her marriage to Dr. Dimond: Sherri, Lark, and Lea. One of Mary D.’s proudest maternal moments came in 1979, when she quietly adopted a Chinese daughter, Wu Tung (Joan) during a trip to Beijing – telling Dr. Dimond about it on the way to the airport home.  Each of her children brought her great joy.

As a wife, Mary D. enjoyed 15 adventure-filled years with Dr. Dimond.  As his eager and devoted companion, she worked beside him in developing Hospital Hill, the Truman Medical Center, UMKC’s School of Medicine, and co-founding Diastole-Hospital Hill, Inc. She enthusiastically endorsed building their new home a block from the brand new medical school – a gutsy move and the first new home built in this then-blighted urban neighborhood in fifty years.  (That home expanded to become today’s Diastole Scholars’ Center, which hosts a wide variety of civic and scholarly endeavors 6 days a week.)  Together Mary D. and Dr. Dimond led student and faculty trips to China, Israel, Greece, the Navajo Nation, and throughout the state of Missouri.  Together they were scholars in residence at the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio, Italy.  Together they traveled the country in their motor home, splitting time between Kansas City and their Rancho Sante Fe, California lemon ranch. Together they found strength in their later-life marriage and had a lifetime of events compressed into 15 years.

As a friend and promoter, Mary D. felt keenly the need for adequate recognition of the work and legacy of her friend, journalist and Kansas City native Edgar Snow.  When Snow died, Mary D. launched an attack on preserving his work and memory, much as she had done with her father’s.   She resolutely gathered Snow’s works and memorabilia until she had created the very substantial Edgar Snow Collection for UMKC.  She initiated the invitation of visiting scholars from China, the Edgar Snow Professors.  She founded the Edgar Snow Memorial Fund, dedicated to grass roots efforts promoting friendship between the peoples of the United States and China.  She lectured widely about the Fund, and about Snow’s life, wrote a script and provided material for a video and brief biography of Snow.  She participated and spoke at the Edgar Snow Symposium in Beijing in 1982.  Mary D.’s final days, literally, were spent organizing and presiding over an important Sino-American symposium at which a posthumous doctor of humane letters degree was awarded to Edgar Snow, received by his widow, Lois Snow.

As a private citizen, Mary D.’s acute sense of social responsibility and relentless New England work ethic led to a tremendous number of community and civic roles, including serving on the Board of Truman Medical Center Foundation, Harvard’s Visiting Committee on East Asian Studies, consultant to the St. Louis China Council of the Asia Study, special advisor to the Steering Committee of the US-China People’s Friendship Association, Board of the Institute for World Order, charter Board member of KCPT-TV, director of the Mayor’s Committee for United Nations Days, and honorary member of the Board of the United Nations Association-Kansas City.  For all of these contributions and many more, Mary D. was awarded “Kansas City World Citizen of the Year” by Mayor Charles Wheeler in 1973.

Finally, as a photographer, Mary D. somehow found the time to also develop and express her artistic side.  In her later years she astounded friends (and perhaps herself) by the wide range of subjects and happiness conveyed in her work.  Her eye for composition and color was masterful, and she assembled a collection of 64 framed photographs for a successful fund-raiser benefiting the Snow Fund.   Diastole’s newest permanent exhibit, The Photography of Mary Clark Dimond, celebrates the life and work of this great lady, world-class citizen, and gifted and insightful photographer — Mary Clark Dimond.