Arthur Clifton Guyton was born in Oxford, MS, to Dr. Billy S. Guyton, a highly respected ophthalmologist and dean of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, and Kate Smallwood Guyton, a math and physics teacher.
He graduated top in his class at the University of Mississippi, distinguished himself at Harvard Medical School, and began postgraduate surgical training at Massachusetts General Hospital. His medical training was interrupted twice - once to serve in the Navy during World War II and again in 1946 when he was stricken with polio during his final year of residency training.
Dr. Guyton built the first motorized wheelchair and many other devices to aid the handicapped. For those inventions, he received a Presidential Citation. He returned to Oxford in 1947 where he devoted himself to teaching and research at the University of Mississippi two-year medical school and was named chair of the Department of Physiology in 1948.
In 1951, he was named one of the 10 outstanding young men in the nation. When the University expanded the medical school to a four-year program and moved it to Jackson in 1955, he rapidly developed one of the world's premier cardiovascular research programs.
Dr. Guyton's research contributions, which include more than 600 papers and 40 books, place him among the greatest figures in the history of cardiovascular research. He received more than 80 major honors including the Ciba Award from the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, the William Harvey Award from the American Society of Hypertension, the Research Achievement Award of the American Heart Association, and the Wiggers Award of the American Physiological Society. He was invited by the Royal College of Physicians in London to deliver a special lecture honoring the 400th anniversary of the birth of William Harvey, who discovered the circulation of the blood.
Although Dr. Guyton's research accomplishments are legendary, his contributions to education may have had an even greater impact. He and his wife, Ruth, raised 10 children, all of whom became outstanding physicians. He trained more than 150 scientists, at least 29 of whom became chairs of their own departments and six of whom became presidents of the American Physiological Society.
His Textbook of Medical Physiology
is translated in at least 15 languages and used by medical students around the world.
For his many contributions to education, Dr. Guyton received the 1996 Abraham Flexner Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges. He also is honored each year by the American Physiological Society through the Arthur C. Guyton Teaching Award.
Arthur Guyton was a giant in the fields of physiology and medicine, a leader among leaders, a master teacher, and an inspiring role model for people throughout the world.