Alumni Profiles


Dr. Michael A. Kutcher, MD ’66

Dr. Michael A. Kutcher, MD ’66Michael Anthony Kutcher, MD is the proud grandson of immigrant grandparents and a proud graduate of Bishop Carroll Catholic High School. Dr. Kutcher’s grandparents immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia. Both of his grandfathers, as well as many uncles, and his father for a short time, worked as coal miners in Cambria County.

When he was in his Cardiology fellowship, Dr. Kutcher changed his last name from Kukucka to Kutcher for easier pronunciation, although he has always been very proud of his family heritage.

The tide seemed to turn for the family when they began to have more access to education. Dr. Kutcher’s father, Stephen M. Kukucka, became the first in the family to attend college. He attended St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania on a football scholarship. He later graduated from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.

Born in Colver, Pennsylvania, Dr. Kutcher spent most of his early years in various towns in Cambria County including Spangler, Barnesboro, Carrolltown, and Ebensburg. His father practiced dentistry in the area for over 45 years. The oldest of six children, he and all five of his siblings graduated from Bishop Carroll.

“My mother, Elizabeth, was an avid reader and encouraged a Catholic education wherever we lived,” he recalls.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Dr. Kutcher also played football in high school. He was a two-year varsity letterman and says that some of his fondest memories are from playing football under the lights.  

Among the many people who influenced him during his time at Bishop Carroll, there are two teachers that stand out – Father Knapik, his biology teacher, and Father Arnold Gaus, his math teacher. He credits Father Knapik with providing a good foundation for him to develop an interest in medicine, something that he has turned into his life’s work.

“Father Arnold Gaus was my Math teacher – algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and spatial geometry,” says Michael. “I was not innately good at math, but Father Gaus was a great teacher and inspired me to be persistent and to succeed.”  

His interest in medicine and his success in math ended up being very important factors in Dr. Kutcher’s career. Today, he is a Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease, and Interventional Cardiology, and has enjoyed a long and successful career helping others by treating heart disease.

Perhaps even more important than his academics, Dr. Kutcher learned life lessons at Bishop Carroll – leadership, discipline, and determination. These are skills that he says are still relevant in his life today.

Dr. Kutcher holds a BS in Biology (1970) from St. Francis University and an MD (1974) from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He did his Internal Medicine Residency at St. Vincent Hospital, New York City, followed by a Cardiology Fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

During his last year at Emory, he directly trained under Dr. Andreas Gruntzig, a German cardiologist who first developed percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a revolutionary catheter based technique for the non-surgical treatment of coronary artery blockages.

As a result, in 1981 Dr. Kutcher was recruited to start a PCI program at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. At the time, he was one of the youngest cardiologists in the nation to start a new Interventional Cardiology Service.

Dr. Kutcher was recently honored as a Bishop Carroll Distinguished Alumni after being nominated by his very proud sister, Janet.

“Mike often cites lessons learned at Bishop Carroll in his practice (especially from football),” she explains, “like ‘sometimes you have to play the ball, not the man.’”

Today, in addition to being a professor and a clinician, Dr. Kutcher is also a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI). He is the author or co-author of over one hundred published papers. He has given professional presentations throughout the United States and in Paris, Vienna, and Tokyo.

He has been the institutional principal investigator for numerous national multi-center trials of PCI devices, stents, and the treatment of heart attack. Dr. Kutcher is also currently involved in service on the National Cardiovascular Data Registry, the ACC-AHA Task Force on Data Standards, and the SCAI Quality Improvement Committee.

“I think his expertise really HAS impacted the world!” says Janet.

Dr. Kutcher and his wife, the former Ellen McGuire, have lived in Winston-Salem since 1981, where they are parishioners of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church. They have two sons, Matthew and Patrick. Matthew is married to Paloma Wu who recently gave birth to a daughter. He is currently a Trauma Surgery Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. Patrick is a professional musician and the owner of a sound recording studio in Asheville, North Carolina.

Dr. Kutcher’s siblings who also graduated from Bishop Carroll are Stephen ’68, Janet ’70, Christina ’72, Thomas ’74, and Beth ’77.


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