Chester B. McVay, M.D.

Honored Member Award 1985

Our anatomical and clinical knowledge of the inguinal canal, and the hernias that occur in this complex region are due in large part to the investigations and writings of Chester McVay.  Chester Bidwell McVay was born August 1, 1911 in Yankton, South Dakota.  After his high school and undergraduate education in Yankton, he received his M.D. (1938) and Ph.D. (1939) degrees from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.

From 1938-1943 he was an Intern, Resident, and Instructor of Surgery at The University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Following service in the United States Army in the European Theater from 1943 to 1946, Chester held the following academic positions:  Associate Professor of Anatomy and Clinical Professor of Surgery (1946 to 1974), and then Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine (1974-1977).  In 1977, he became Professor Emeritus.  He served as Chief of Surgery at the Yankton Clinic and Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton from 1946 to 1980. He was the recipient of numerous awards, for example: AOA, Distinguished Service Awards, and Honorary Doctor of Science Awards from Yankton College, and the University of South Dakota.

Chester McVay’s primary research interest provided us with our understanding and working knowledge of the inguinal region, and both inguinal and femoral hernias.  Over one half of his writing concern this region, including his four book chapters on the subject.  Together with Barry J. Anson, he co-authored one of the first textbooks dealing with clinical anatomy:  Surgical Anatomy.  He also authored two of the earliest audiovisual presentations:  Inguinal Hernioplasty(1959), and Femoral Hernioplasty (1969).

During his academic career, Chester belonged to 15 professional societies, including the American College of Surgeons, American Surgical Association, American Association of Anatomists, and the Society of Sigma Xi, to name but a few.  He often contributed his time and expertise as an officer for many of these groups.  Chester McVay is a true roll model for all those who aspire to advance the science and art of clinical anatomy.  For his excellence in these endeavors, he was chosen the American Association of Clinical Anatomist’s Honored Member for 1985.