James E Goodnight Jr, is an UC Davis emeritus faculty member who joined the Department of Surgery in 1980.  He is well recognized as a skilled leader and compassionate, dedicated clinician and researcher.  As a surgical oncologist, he was the founding director of the UC Davis Cancer Center, Chair of the Department of Surgery for 12 years (1996-2008) and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs for 8 years.  During his tenure as the Chair of Surgery, the department faculty dramatically increased in size, depth, and academic impact.  As Associate Dean, he was responsible for designing the structure, rules, responsibilities, funding needs and physician medical practice goals for UC Davis. As a surgeon, Dr Goodnight specialized in treating malignant melanoma, breast cancer, pelvic tumors, and bone and soft tissue cancers.  He is nationally recognized for the use and refinement of limb sparing procedures for treating sarcoma.  As a researcher, Dr Goodnight’s focused on early cancer detection, advancing minimally invasive surgical procedures, improving cancer patient survival and reducing disparities in cancer treatment.  As a peer, Dr Goodnight was well known for always having a “BHAG – a big, hairy, audacious goal.” 
Each year, the James E Goodnight Jr. lectureship welcomes distinguished and nationally recognized surgeon scientists in the field of oncology.

Past Speakers


Advancing Oncology Care Through the Operative Standards for Cancer Surgery - Mediget Teshome, M.D.

Mediget Teshome, M.D. - 2022
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Regional Nodal Disease in Melanoma: A Learning Health System - Sandra Wong, M.D.

Sandra Wong, M.D. - 2021
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center


A Proposal for Another National Trial to Improve Surgical Training - Karl Bilimoria, M.D., M.S.

Karl Bilimoria, M.D. - 2019
Northwestern University


Nodal Surgery in Melanoma: Controversies from Snow to MSLT-II - Mark B. Faries, M.D.

Mark B. Faries, M.D. - 2018
The Angels Clinic and Research Institute


Top Ten Strategies for Success in Academic Surgery - Herbert Chen - M.D.

Herbert Chen, M.D. - 2017
University of Alabama
 2015   Armando E. Giuliano, M.D.   UCLA School of Medicine