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Biographical entry MacKenzie, Walter Campbell (1909 - 1978)

Order of Canada 1971; Hon FRCS 1963; BSc Dalhousie 1929; MD ChM 1933; MS Minnesota 1935; FACS; FRCSC; Hon FRCS Ed; Hon FRCSI; Hon FRCS Glas; Hon LLD McGill, Hon LLD Dalhousie; Hon LLD Manitoba.

Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada
15 December 1978
General surgeon


Walter Campbell MacKenzie was born in 1909 in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. He went to school in Sydney and Baddeck and to Dalhousie University. He graduated BSc in 1929, MD, ChM in 1933 and was awarded the Malcolm Honour Society Medal as the outstanding graduate in his year. He was a resident at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, and in 1934 a fellow and surgical first assistant at the Mayo Clinic. He obtained the MS of Minnesota University. On completing his training he went to Edmonton as surgeon to the Baker Institute. At the outbreak of war he joined the Royal Canadian Navy and served as surgeon-in-chief to four naval hospitals. In 1945 he returned to Edmonton to establish a private surgical practice and obtained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada. In 1949 he was appointed Professor of Surgery at the University of Alberta and in 1959 Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. He was a great surgical statesman and raised the status of the university from its rather parochial level to be the equal of any in Canada.

He was a great traveller and known throughout the surgical world. He had given the Moynihan Lecture at the College and was the Sir Arthur Sims Commonwealth Travelling Professor to the West Indies, Africa and Great Britain and many other countries. He was awarded the Centennial Medal of Canada in 1967 and the Order of Canada in 1971.

He was President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American College of Surgeons - the only man to have held both offices. Among his other many presidencies were the International Federation of Surgical Colleges, the James IV Association of Surgeons and the Association of Medical Colleges. He was awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of England, of Edinburgh and of Ireland, of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and of the College of Surgeons of South Africa. Three Canadian Universities conferred on him the honorary degree of LLD. He was Honorary Surgeon to Her Majesty the Queen in 1966-68.

Walter MacKenzie made many lasting friendships. He was a stimulating teacher, an outstanding surgeon, a compassionate doctor and a superb medical administrator. Above all he was a man of great charm and warmth of personality. He married Dorothy Rosier in 1938 and she contributed much to a happy home life and to his career. They had two sons and one daughter. He died on 15 December 1978, aged 69 years.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Can J Surg 1979, 22, 303-307; Ann Roy Coll Surg Eng 1963, 33, 41].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England