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14-year-old Hayes Atkins doesn’t realize it, but he is connected in a profound way to Joan Glicksman Wish, who died around the time he was born, and to 4,998 other people, young and old, Latino, Black and white, urban and rural, rich and poor, in a procession of changed lives that dates back half a century.

“Fifty years of firsts require 50 years of approvals,” said Jennifer Milton, University Transplant Center chief administrative officer. “It is not easy to go to a dean, a president, a CEO, a COO, or an ethics or quality panel and say, ‘We’ve got an idea, we think it’s going to work well, or we want you to open a new donor center. The people always have big eyes in response, but we eventually get there.”