Virgil Preston Sydenstricker (1889–1964) was the epitome of the physician nutrition specialist, clinical investigator andmedical academician. He performed outstandingly in research, education and service, the three areas in which medical faculty are evaluated for promotion and tenure. For more than 30 years, his career focused on nutrition; he was a pioneer in the area of nutritional deficiency disease. While based at the Georgia state medical school in Augusta, his activities and influence extended nationally and in Europe, as a civilian and in the military. In 1952, he was the only full-time professor of medicine in the United States who had held the chair of medicine for 30 years.
While his contributions as a scientist had national and international recognition, his chief importance in the state of Georgia was probably his influence as a physician and educator. In 1958, approximately two of every five physicians in practice in Georgia had received their training at the Augusta medical school during Sydenstricker’s 35 years as Professor of Medicine.
On December 10, 1973, ground was broken for the Virgil P. Sydenstricker Wing of Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospital. The Sydenstricker Wing opened in 1976, named in honor of Dr. Virgil P. Sydenstricker, a world-renowned physician and longstanding chair of the Department of Medicine.