Citation for Prof. Norman S. Williams, MS, FMedSci, FRCS(Eng)

Professor Williams

Mr. President, it is my distinct privilege to present Prof. Norman Stanley Williams of London, England, for Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons. Professor Williams was born and educated in Leeds. Though not from a medical family, he was influenced by the program Your Life in Their Hands and became committed to surgery at an early age.

He has a most distinguished career as an internationally recognized academic colorectal surgeon. He was director of the Academic Surgical Unit at the London Hospital from 1985 to 1995 and head of the Center for Academic Surgery, London Queen Mary’s School until 2011, when he was elected by his peers to be president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, a role defining international surgical leadership.

Professor Williams is sought worldwide for his insight and academic contributions, and he is the lead editor of the 26th edition of Bailey and Love’s textbook, Short Practice of Surgery. He has the unique ability to gather groups of individuals to provide consensus in the delivery of surgical health care. He has led basic scientists and clinical investigators to develop innovative and integrative trials that resulted in evidence-based advances in the management of bowel function.

His social awareness of the consequences to an individual receiving an abdominal wall stoma is said to have evolved from his empathy for a family member who had an ostomy at the time when such stomas were both crude and disfiguring. His seminal publication 30 years ago, which specified that a five-centimeter distal margin was not a prerequisite for a successful rectal cancer operation, has changed the lives of so many patients. His commitment to address the importance of bowel continuity, sphincter preservation, and restoration has been an inspiration to individual patients, and he has led the National Center for Bowel Research and Surgical Innovation.

His wife believes that he was transformed by working in California. He embraced the California ethic, lost 60 pounds, and grew a mustache so impressive that he was stopped at the Texas border!

I like to think that much of his team-building success can be attributed to his commitment to rugby football. An excellent player (no doubt by appearance assuming the role of front row Prop forward) he has continued to be physically active and swims every day.

Norman Williams epitomizes the academic investigator committed to a focused interest, advancing the physical and emotional needs of the patient to the forefront and having the immense capacity to take a leadership role in health care delivery.

His interest in vigorous debate has been passed on to his two children; however, they have chosen to use that talent in the legal world. Medical succession will now rest with the next generation, his two granddaughters.

Mr. President, it is a privilege to recognize a surgical leader from the UK with major insights into health care delivery who is firmly grounded by his commitment to the welfare of the individual patient, and I am honored to present Prof. Norman Stanley Williams for Honorary Fellowship.

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