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1992 Distinguished Graduate Award


     Throughout his forty years of public service, first as a lieutenant in the United States Army and then as one of the world's leading neurosurgeons, Thoralf Mauritz Sundt, Jr. has consistently demonstrated his care and concern for his fellow man.

     A 1952 graduate of the United States Military Academy, Dr. Sundt served as an engineer platoon leader and company commander with the 32nd Regimental Combat Team of the 7th Infantry Division in the Korean War, where he was decorated for valor.  Two years later, when the Army refused his request for a leave of absence to attend medical school, he resigned from the service to pursue the study of medicine at the University of Tennessee-Memphis.

     In 1964, Dr. Sundt completed his studies in the field of neurosurgery and neurology at the Mayo Clinic and embarked on his chosen profession, a course of action that would lead him to international prominence in the field of neurosurgery.  In 1979, Dr. Sundt was named Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic.

     A tireless and dedicated surgeon, Dr. Sundt has performed over 3,000 complicated neurological procedures and has also found time to author over 260 journal articles in the field of neurosurgery.  His 1978 article, with Dr. Whisnant, in the New England Journal of Medicine is
considered a classic in the field of open intracranial surgery on aneurysms.

     In a career studded with honors, Dr. Sundt was recognized as Teacher of the Year in 1986 by the Mayo Fellow's Association; he was named the outstanding alumnus of the University of Tennessee- Memphis College of Medicine in 1988; appointed Honorary President of the International Workshop on Intracranial Aneurysms in Atami, Japan in 1989, he received the Distinguished May Clinical Award in 1990; and he was awarded the Grass Prize Medal from the Society of Neurological Surgery in 1991.  In 1989-1990 he served as Vice-Chairman of the
American Board of Neurological Surgery, and also in 1989 he became editor of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

     A creative and innovative thinker, Dr. Sundt has been lauded for his thoughtful devotion to patient care.  He is one of the pioneers in the use of surgical microscopes in neurosurgery, and he has invented and designed numerous devices that have significantly reduced the dangers
associated with delicate neurosurgical techniques.

     As a soldier, as an outstanding surgeon, as a leader in advancing the frontiers of knowledge in neurosurgery, and as a humanitarian, Dr. Sundt has, by his every action and decision, upheld the motto of the Military Academy:  "Duty, Honor, Country."

     For his extraordinary accomplishments in the field of medicine, for his courage and selfless dedication in the face of personal illness and pain, the Association of Graduates salutes Thoralf M. Sundt, Jr. and is proud to award him the 1992 Distinguished Graduate Award.