Robert S. Watanabe ’51, M.D. ’55

Posted On - May 28, 2015


For more than 30 years, Dr. Robert Watanabe has donated countless hours of personal and professional service to his alma mater. Even before he completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at UCLA, Watanabe was a devote alumnus. Now in private medical practice, Watanabe shares his skills with future physicians as assistant clinical professor of surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine. A specialist in sports injuries, Watanabe gave 25 years of service to UCLA as assistant physician to the football team. He also volunteered at various UCLA clinics.

For the past 11 years, Watanabe has shown an interest in the future welfare of UCLA by serving on The UCLA Foundation Board of Trustees. He gives generously as a member of the Chancellor’s Associates and served ass co-chair of the committee that raised funds to endow a chair in Japanese-American studies. Watanabe served on the UCLA Alumni Association Board of Directors and was also a founding Advisory Board member for the Asian Pacific Alumni of UCLA, a group dedicated to facilitating communications between Asian Pacific Alumni, faculty, staff and students at UCLA. He is a founder of Pauley Pavilion and has been active in organizing Aesculapians’ dinner dances. In 1975, he was named “Physician of the Year” at a reunion of the School of Medicine.

An accomplished photographer and cinematographer, Watanabe has produced 21 motion pictures and 20 video programs dealing with the management of injuries in the field of orthopedic surgery. He is a former varsity sprinter and is among the top senior runners in the United States. As John Wooden said, “In my opinion, there are few, if any, UCLA people as deserving of special recognition for university service as Dr. Bob Watanabe.”

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