Mako Medical to Sponsor the Duke Classic Honoring Esteemed Surgeon Dr. Onye E. Akwari


Amid restrictions due to the pandemic, Duke has announced plans to host its own multi-team event in December at the Cameron Indoor Stadium. This news comes after the recent cancellation of the Battle 4 Atlantis basketball tournament as a result of travel restrictions. The exciting, upcoming sporting event will be sponsored by leading health care brand Mako Medical and co-hosted by the Howard University men’s basketball team.

Honoring Dr. Onye E. Akwari

The Mako Medical Duke Classic is set to honor esteemed professional Dr. Onye E. Akwari, who was the first African American surgeon on the faculty of Duke University and, sadly, passed away in April of last year. Born in Aba, Nigeria, Akwari immigrated to the U.S. for his education, and his story is one of hard work, determination, and success.

Back in 1970, he joined the general surgery training program at the Mayo Clinic and went on to become well known in his field, even authoring clinical research papers. He was also a member of the American Surgical Association, a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

“Dr. Akwari not only did amazing things medically for Duke University, but he really helped our program, starting in the 1980s when I arrived. Dr. Akwari was a mentor to some of our young men like Tommy Amaker, Johnny Dawkins, Billy King, and many others. He is one of the great human beings in the history of our university, and although he has passed, his wife Anne remains a vibrant member of our Duke and Durham communities,” Duke head coach, Mike Krzyzewski, said in a recent statement.

Akwari was recruited to Duke as an associate professor of surgery at the School of Medicine back in 1978. Over the course of his remarkable career, he became well known for supporting the advancement of women and minorities in the medical sector. In 1989, Akwari organized the first meeting for the Society of Black Academic Surgeons. The event saw notable professionals attend, including Dr. LaSalle Leffall Jr. from Howard University.

A Landmark Sporting Event

The Mako Medical Duke Classic will be Duke’s first multi-team event at the Cameron Indoor Stadium in almost four decades. The last event was the Iron Duke Classic, which was held between 1979 and 1981. While there is a historic connection between Duke University and Howard University, the two teams will not face off as part of the event. However, Krzyzewski highlighted the importance of using the event as a platform to bring to light the racial injustices that have occurred across the U.S. in recent years.

“Howard University, coached by one of our former players, Kenny Blakeney, is a co-host, and we felt it important at this time to have one of the great Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). It gives us and the other teams an opportunity for two additional games and gives all an opportunity to honor such a great man in Dr. Akwari,” Krzyzewski said in the statement.

According to NCAA scheduling rules, teams are allowed to participate in only one regular-season, multi-team event each season. This rule usually sees Duke University participating in leading tournaments, such as the Maui Invitation, which now takes place in Asheville.

“The connections for so many of us trace back to our time at Duke and to those who invested in me not only as a player, but [also]as a person and as a man. Dr. Akwari was one of those people who showed incredible kindness and support while serving as an exemplary model, scholar, administrator, and African American male,” Blakeney said in a statement. “I believe Dr. Akwari would be proud to see myself, as well as fellow Duke alums Thomas Hill and Tyler Thornton, together at Howard while training the next generation of student-athletes in a similar fashion.”

Mako Medical Sponsorship

Needless to say, next month’s Duke Classic is sure to be one for the history books. With that in mind, Mako Medical Laboratories CEO Chad Price has made the decision to team up with Duke University for the sporting event. The innovative health care company has supplied and processed all of Duke University’s COVID-19 tests in partnership with the event, ensuring that all athletes are safe and healthy ahead of the big day.

The leading health care brand regularly sponsors esteemed sporting events across the country. This latest tournament is a chance for the company to show its support of an important cause while also spreading the word regarding health care information.

About Mako Medical and Chad Price

Underpinned by an expert team of nationally recognized doctors who specialize in methodology development and pathological services, Mako Medical is making waves in the health care world. The innovative health care brand was founded with the mission of standing out from the crowd for all the right reasons.

As CEO of Mako Medical Laboratories, Chad Price heads up a team of numerous experts. By disrupting the status quo, the company serves its clients differently. That means more attention to timely results, innovation, and the highest levels of accuracy. The company positions integrity at the forefront of all of its services and gives more to its clients. Utilizing forward-thinking systems such as automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics, Mako Medical is pioneering the way in the medical field. The company offers lab services, pharmacy services, imaging services, and other health care solutions.


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