King of Spain Awards Medal to UR Surgeon

March 25, 2005

Seymour I. Schwartz, M.D., Distinguished Alumni Professor of Surgery and former chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center, was recently recognized by the King of Spain for his body of work as a surgeon over the past 50 years.

King Juan Carlos I personally bestowed upon Dr. Schwartz the Fundación Mutua Madrileña medal during a ceremony in Madrid, Spain, on March 3, followed by a royal reception hosted by the king and his wife, Queen Sofia.

The medal, crafted in bronze and accented with patina, is adorned with the likeness of the Roman goddess Minerva, know as the Goddess of Wisdom, and the Greek god Hermes, the Messenger of the Gods. It was awarded to Dr. Schwartz for his service to the world of medicine, including his work in the specialties of hepatobiliary, gastrointestinal and hematologic surgery. This is the second honor given to Dr. Schwartz in Spain; he was the recipient of honorary degree conferred by the University of Madrid in 1997.

Also awarded medals during the royal ceremony were researchers Robert Gallo, M.D., and Luc Montagnier, M.D., Ph.D., who in the 1980s identified the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); and Thomas E. Starzl, M.D., Ph.D., a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center surgeon known for pioneering the procedure of organ transplantation.

Dr. Schwartz began his career as a resident in Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center in 1950 and became an instructor in the Department of Surgery in 1957. He became an assistant professor of Surgery in 1959, associate professor in 1963, and full professor in 1967. Dr. Schwartz served as chair of the Department of Surgery from 1987-98.

He is a member and former president of the American Surgical Association, the Central Surgical Society, the American College of Surgeons and the Society of Clinical Surgery. He also is a member and former vice-chair of the American Board of Surgery, and a member of both the Southern Surgical Society and the Society of University Surgeons.

Dr. Schwartz has been published in numerous journals throughout his career, including Surgery and the World Journal of Surgery. He served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and the Yearbook of Surgery. He also authored many books, including “Surgical Disease of the Liver,” “Abdominal Surgery,” for which he served as editor-in-chief, “Atlas of Hepatic Tumors and Focal Lesions,” “Maingot's Abdominal Operations,” for which he served as co-editor, “Surgical Reflections,” and “Principles of Surgery,” for which he served as editor-in-chief for seven editions.

Dr. Schwartz has been awarded two honorary doctor of science degrees, from the University of Sweden and from his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin.

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Karin Christensen
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