Sir William George Dismore Upjohn served in the First World War as a pathologist, then as a senior surgeon. He served at the Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s and Repatriation General hospitals over his career. He served in leadership roles on a number of professional associations and government advisory committees including as President of the RMH Board. He was elected to the Council of Melbourne University in 1959 and served one term as deputy Chancellor and two as Chancellor. He was knighted in 1958 and awarded an Hon LLD by the University of Melbourne in 1962.
His service to the community included leadership of a range of government committees and professional associations including the Royal Melbourne Hospital Board and the Council of the University of Melbourne. His colleagues remembered him as a kindly and compassionate man, who once claimed that his greatest contribution to the Royal Children’s Hospital was to insist on the appointment of Jean Macnamara and Kate Campbell to its staff.
In 1974, a subscription among his friends and associates raised funds for a portrait of Sir William (1888-1979. This was created by Peter Zageris (1973) and is still held by the University of Melbourne which created the Sir William Upjohn Medal with surplus funds. The gold medal is presented on each occasion of its award at an appropriate ceremony arranged by the University.