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March 15, 1965


JAMA. 1965;191(11):937-938. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080110061022

William T. Sedgwick, the architect of the theory and practice of public health and sanitary engineering in America, was associated throughout his professional years with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was born in West Hartford, Conn, attended Hartford High School, showed a great interest in the natural sciences, and in 1877 graduated from the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University.1 Although he began the study of medicine, he shortly abandoned it for physiological chemistry under Chittenden at Yale. In 1879, Sedgwick accepted a fellowship in biology at Johns Hopkins University with Newell Martin, a student of Huxley. The PhD degree was granted in 1881. In 1883, he was called from Johns Hopkins University to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by Francis Walker, whose brilliant service as president of the Institute envisioned the need for broad, technological instruction, including sanitary engineering. The initial appointment was in the department of