Toy Savage Jr., who died Dec. 7, 2017 at the age of 96, was an attorney, former state legislator and key supporter of EVMS when it was still only a concept.
Often working behind the scenes, Mr. Savage chaired the Norfolk Medical Center Commission that led the effort to create what would become the Virginia’s third medical school. For example, in 1964, the attorney and former member of the Virginia House of Delegates helped craft the legislation that created the Eastern Virginia Medical Authority, the forerunner of EVMS.
Thirty years later, as EVMS was preparing to award him an honorary degree in recognition of his longstanding support, Mr. Savage reflected on his involvement.
“Nothing can give a person greater pleasure than to do good work by stealth and afterward have it discovered,” he said in a 1995 interview. “Those of us associated with the establishment of this school more than 30 years ago are extremely proud of the success of those charged with the responsibility for its management.”
Even after the early legislative success, Mr. Savage continued his support. In 1964, he served as the first Vice Chair of the newly constituted Board of Commissioners that would oversee efforts to set up the new school. Mr. Savage remained involved with the school as a long-time member of the EVMS Foundation Board of Trustees.
“Mr. Savage was a humble yet insightful leader,” says Richard Homan, MD, President and Provost of EVMS and Dean of the School of Medicine. “He embraced the idea of creating a new medical school, in spite of significant opposition, because he understood what the school would mean for the health of the people of southeastern Virginia.”
Mr. Savage was honored for his community service in 1980, when he was named Norfolk’s First Citizen, and again in 2012, with the Hampton Roads Community Foundation’s Barron Black Community Builder Award.
Wayne Wilbanks, Chair of the EVMS Foundation Board of Trustees, worked alongside Mr. Savage for a number of years.
“Mr. Savage and a handful of community leaders championed EVMS and then laid the groundwork for an institution that has become essential to the health of Hampton Roads,” Mr. Wilbanks says. “We are indebted to him for his vision, his courage and his conviction.”