Dr. Stephen H. Watts Honored at Memorial Exercises
Online; Still Image
UVa Medical Alumni News Letter
The caption to this image, from the UVa Medical Alumni News Letter, December 1954-January 1955, reads: "Portrait of the late Dr. Stephen H. Watts, unveiled at memorial program on December 16. (Left) Dr. William H. Muller, Jr., first Stephen H. Watts Professor of Surgery and Chairman of the Department of Surgery; (right) Dr. C. Bruce Morton, II, Professor of Surgery." The accompanying article reads: "At a memorial program held in the Medical School Auditorium on December 16, the University of Virginia paid tribute to the work and generosity of the late Dr. Stephen Hurt Watts, Professor of Surgery from 1907 until his retirement in 1927, who made many gifts to the University during his lifetime and in his will. Dr. Thomas H. Hunter, Deano of the School of Medicine, told how a bequest by Dr. Watts made possible the establishment of a chair of surgery in his name, and introduced Dr. William H. Muller, Jr., who recently joined the medical faculty as the first Stephen Hurt Watts Professor of Surgery. Dr. Hunter also presented a portrait painted by Henry Rittenberg during Dr. Watts' lifetime, which is the gift of his family and will hang in the Medical Library. President Colgate W. Darden, Jr., in accepting both the bequest and the portrait, said Dr. Watts began making gifts to the University of Virginia before the first World War. 'His gifts have ranged from a check for tile flooring in the surgical rooms to a priceless collection of rare books on the history of medicine, containing the works of Galen, Harvey, and Vasalius [sic]. The most priceless gift which Dr. Watts left us is his devotion to excellence in his profession,' Mr. Darden continued. 'It is this which he sought to perpetuate and fro which we have so much to gain. It is gratifying to me to believe that in America we are gradually accumulating in our institutions lasting reminders, in the form of professorships and portraits, of those who loomed large in the early days and to whom we owe so much.' Dr. Harvey E. Jordan, former Dean of the School of Medicine, told how Dr. Watts, as a young surgeon, 'accepting the challenge that was offered him and gave the best 21 years of his life with lasting benefit to the medical school.' Tracing the early history of the then small medical school, with its 50-bed hospital, medical facilities scattered throughout the Univedrsity Grounds, and the difficulties encountered in building up the medical faculty, Dr. Jordan said, 'Dr. Watts was foremost in supporting our hopes and in formulating plans for better things to come, the results of which are a large part of our present medical plant. He was one of the group of desvoted souls who during the earlier years kept faith with the sometimes faltering seedling that has since flourished into this great medical school with its splendid hospital,' he added, as he told how Dr. Watts passed on his surgical skill to his students as he used it to bring healing to his patients. Dr. Watts, who was a native of Lynchburg, died June 7, 1953. In his will he bequeathed a million dollars to be divided between the University of Virginia School of Medicine and Randolph-Macon College. He also established a trust fund of another million dollars for his daughter, Mrs. Llewellyn Miller of Charlottesville, which on her death is to be divided between the University medical fund, the Randolph-Macon fund, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine."