Introduction We reviewed the first 100 years of presidential addresses delivered at the fall congress of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Our hypothesis was that these addresses would be an excellent indicator of the College's position on surgical policy, ethics, methods, and education. Methods All ACS presidential addresses from 1913 to 2013 were identified through the ACS archives website. This included the presenter, title, year, and citation if published in a peer reviewed journal. The text of each address was obtained from the ACS archives, or from the listed citations. Addresses were then classified into 1 of 6 subgroups based on content - surgical credo, medical innovation, medical education, surgical history, business and legal, and personal tribute. The 100-year period was divided into 5 interval each of 20-year and the frequency of each category was graphed over time. Results There were 111 ACS presidential addresses delivered in the study period. Distribution by category was surgical credo (57%), surgical history (14%), medical innovation (10%), medical education (8%), business and legal (6%), and personal tributes (5%). The frequency of surgical credo has remained stable over time. Business and legal emerged as a new category in 1975. The other topics had low, but stable frequency. Conclusion ACS presidential addresses do reflect the College's position on surgical policy and practice. The college has remained consistent in serving its members, maintaining, and defining the role of its organization, the qualifications for membership, and the expectations for the professional conduct of its members.
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