Sir William Upjohn Medal

The Sir William Upjohn Medal recognises distinguished services to medicine in Australia. Named after prominent surgeon and past Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, Sir William George Dismore Upjohn (1888-1979), the medal is awarded every five years.

In awarding this medal, the University aims to recognise an individual’s distinguished services to medicine in Australia, particularly those who can demonstrate:

  • a broad or deep contribution to medicine;
  • leadership at a national level;
  • alignment to the Faculty of Medicine's values of collaboration and teamwork, compassion, respect, integrity and accountability;
  • advocacy for others;
  • influence for the betterment of society;
  • impact at a systems level;
  • mentorship of others.

The inaugural Upjohn Medal was awarded to Jacques FAP Miller AC in 1977, recognising his discovery of the role of the thymus. The most recent award was made to medical researcher and past Chief Medical Officer of Australia Professor Judith Ann Whitworth AC in 2021. Professor Whitworth was recognised for her remarkable career in clinical medicine, basic and clinical research and academic leadership; the legacy created by her mentorship of others; and her transformation of systems that protect and improve the health of the nation.

The Sir William Upjohn Medal was created with funds remaining from money raised to commission a portrait of Sir William by Peter Zageris (1973).

About Sir William Upjohn

From Narrabri, New South Wales ,Sir William George Dismore Upjohn (1888-1979) received his medical education at the University of Melbourne and served at the Royal Melbourne Hospital before entering private practice. He was a lieutenant-colonel within the Australian Army Medical Corps during World War I, served in the Gallipoli campaign, was a member of medical committees during World War II and helped found the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Sir William also served as Chancellor of the University of Melbourne between 1966 and 1967.

Further information


Judith Whitworth AC


Richard Smallwood AO


Richard Larkins AC


Graeme Clark AC


Priscilla Kincaid-Smith AC CBE


David G Penington AC


Richard R H Lovell AO


Jacques Miller AC