Professor Ruthven Blackburn had the vision to see that Sydney needed a clinical research institute - preferably associated with the University of Sydney. At the time there was very little research being undertaken in respiratory medicine. A group of like-minded individuals led by him and Professor Ann Woolcock started the Institute of Respiratory Medicine. From there, the Woolcock started to nurture national and international stars and his vision and leadership has led to its existence today. The Woolcock remains extremely grateful to Professor Blackburn and his passing is mourned by the many in the Woolcock who knew him.