Election to the presidency of the Western Surgical Association is a unique experience granted to only a few surgeons within any generation. Acceptance of this honor brought with it a variety of emotional responses—surprise, pleasure, and, on contemplation, a special sense of humility. The Western Surgical Association, since its organization in 1891, has been dedicated to the highest surgical principles. Because of the carefully chosen, limited membership, all of the members of this society are, in my opinion, candidates for any of its offices, and selection to serve as their president from among so many highly qualified members is a very special honor.
When the society was first organized, its geographic boundaries were limited to a relatively small section of the Midwest, which included Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, the Missouri cities of Iowa and Missouri, Oklahoma, and the Indian Territories.1 Although I consider Texas one of the