Steven C. Beering was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1932, to a merchant family. Though separated by the Allied bombing of Hamburg, the Beerings reunited after World War II and settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There, the young Steven Beering studied at the University of Pittsburgh, graduating summa cum laude in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree. He then entered the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, graduating in 1958, and joined the U.S. Medical Corps. He spent 12 years with the Corps, eventually becoming director of the internal medicine program at the Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Dr. Beering left the Corps in 1969, upon his appointment to the faculty of the Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM). One of his great contributions to the IUSM was his leadership in the establishment of the Indiana Statewide Medical Education System. He was named dean of the school in 1974, the youngest dean in the school’s history, and served in that role until 1983, when he was selected as Purdue University’s ninth president.
Among his many accomplishments at Purdue, Dr. Beering achieved distinction for the revitalization of the university’s liberal arts programs. Although he stepped down from Purdue’s presidency in 2000, Dr. Beering has continued to serve vital roles in the Purdue Research Foundation and the Purdue Honors Scholarship Program. In 1983 the IUSM founded the Steven C. Beering Award to honor internationally recognized individuals for outstanding research contributions to the advancement of biomedical or clinical science. The award is presented annually and consists of a medal and a prize of $25,000. Seven past Beering Award recipients have been named Nobel laureates, either before or after receipt of this award. Dr. Beering was appointed to the directorship of the National Science Board in 2002 and formerly served as its chair.
Dr. Beering’s legacy is one of service to those in need. His work in scholarships offers opportunities to students from underprivileged backgrounds, providing them with the same freedom to learn, experience internships, and take part in research that more advantaged students enjoy. Indiana University and Purdue University are both richer for Dr. Beering’s dedication to their continued success.