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Walt Lecture

About Alexander J Walt

Alexander J Walt Photo

Alexander J Walt, 1923 -1996

Alex Walt was born in Cape Town, South Africa after his parents Isaac and Lea escaped religious persecution in Lithuania. He began medical school in 1940, but left to serve in the 6th South African Armored Divison of the 5th US Army in WWII. He finished medical school at the University of Cape Town in 1948 and completed an internship at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. He continued his surgery residency training at the Royal College of Surgeons in London and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr Walt begin his career in Detroit in 1961 joining the Department of Surgery at Wayne State University at Allen Park, VA. He quickly established himself in Detroit and served as Chief of Surgery at Detroit Receiving Hospital and Harper Hospital, and Penberthy Chair of the Department of Surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine from 1966 to 1988, as well as assistant and Associate Dean from 1965 to 1970. Following a sabbatical at Oxford University, Dr Walt returned to Detroit to establish the Comprehensive Breast Center of the Karmanos Cancer Institute which now bears his name, the “Alexander J Walt Center”. He was named Distinguished Professor of Surgery at Wayne State University in 1990. The author of 165 publications, he served as Vice President of the ASA, President of the AAST, and ABMS. He was Chair of the American College of Surgeons Board of Regents from 1991-1993 and was subsequently the 75th President of the ACS in 1994. Dr Walt trained countless medical students and surgical residents and had a lasting impact on both their careers and Wayne State University. Five of his WSU faculty have served as Presidents of the Midwest Surgical, Berkas (1972), Wilson (1974), Lucas (1976), Allaben (1978), and Ledgerwood (1983); as well as five medical students and residents, Bodzin (1995), Lloyd (2002), Schroder (2010), Tyburski (2015), and Cirocco (2018). Most notably for our Midwest Surgical Association, he was the Harridge lecturer in 1974. He and his wife Irene had 3 children, John, Steven, and Lindsay. His parting words were “work hard, be honest, and the rest will take care of itself”.






Previous Lecturers

2023 Steven De Jong MD
2022 Charles E. Lucas MD
Alexander J. Walt – Historian, Philosopher and Surgical Educator
2021 No lecture
(CSA/MSA Combined Meeting)
2020 No lecture
2019 Michael G Sarr MD
A Fur Trapper, an Errant Musket Shot, and the Start of GI Physiology
2018 William Cirocco MD
The Christmas Miracle of 1809: How a Backwoods Kentucky Surgeon Became the Father of Abdominal Surgery