1962, F.P. Wirth – Neurosurgeon

When I entered Williams College, my primary interest and aptitude was in science and I came very close to going to MIT on the combined 3-2 program. After my first year, however, I found history quite attractive and elected to major in history, which was a great choice. I had a wonderful relationship with the late Dr. Bob Scott, who was chairman of the Department of History at the time and I did an honors project with him. However, because of my interest in medicine, I pursued science taking my premedical courses at Vanderbilt University in the summer school. When I applied for medical school, my history degree at Williams was, I think, a plus combined with the fact that I had done well in my premedical courses taken at Vanderbilt and I was accepted for medical school without any obvious hesitation because of my history major. Indeed, I have a suspicion that it was a plus for me. I don’t think it would have been that had I not taken my premedical courses at Vanderbilt and done well, however. Subsequently, I have enjoyed a career in neurosurgery and have never regretted my study of history which has provided me with the interest and training to enjoy, I believe, the liberal arts world much more than I would have had I only had training in the sciences.

I certainly think my degree in history at Williams prepared me well for the world of neurosurgery. I have had an enjoyable career as a director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and as president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons as well as several regional neurosurgical societies.