Virgil Thomas DeVault


President's Medal for Excellence (1997)
Grand Opening of the Virgil T. DeVault Alumni Center
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: Myles Brand
School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award (1995)
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
School of Medicine
B.S.M.D.S., 1927; M.D., 1929
Distinguished Alumni Service Award (1994)
School of Medicine
B.S.M.D.S., 1927; M.D., 1929
Honorary Degree (1977)
Doctor of Science
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: John W. Ryan


Dr. DeVault was born July 16, 1901, in White County, Indiana, and earned two degrees from Indiana University: a Bachelor of Science in 1927 and a Doctor of Medicine in 1929. Dr. DeVault's internship was served at Gorgas Army Hospital in the Panama Canal Zone, with further postgraduate studies in surgery in London, Heidelberg, Munich, Edinburgh, and Vienna. He completed his residency at Johns Hopkins University and St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

After serving as chief surgeon at the Williston (North Dakota) Clinic, he went to Peru in 1932, where he held the posts of chief surgeon and medical officer for Compania Petrolera Lobitos, Ltd. While there, he received a second M.D. degree in 1934 from San Marcos University, Lima, Peru. From 1937 to 1950, Dr. DeVault served in various medical posts in South America, including chief medical officer for the Anglo-Ecuadorian Oil Field Ltd., in Salinas, Ecuador; chief surgeon and medical officer for the Compania Petrolera Lobitas Ltd. in Peru; and chief surgeon and director of the Anglo-American Hospital and Clinic in Lima, Peru.

Dr. DeVault returned to the United States in 1950, when he was appointed medical director of the United States Foreign Service and Department of State and agencies. Dr. DeVault was a captain in the United States Public Health Service reserves from 1950 to 1959. From 1952 to 1963, he was medical director for all personnel of the State Department and its agencies. During the 1960's, he served as international representative and as director of the Department of International Health for the American Medical Association.

Dr. De Vault was an active leader in professional associations. He was a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons, where he also served as trustee, member of the Executive Council, and member of the Qualifications Council.

He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of its International Relations Committee. He was a member of the board of directors of the International Museum of Surgical Science and Hall of Fame in Chicago from 1962 to 1971 and served as an ex-officio member for several more years. He was a member of the advisory board of CARE-Medico. He served as president of the International Medical Society and of the American Society of Peru. He was a council member of the Pan American Medical Society and was a life member of the American Medical Society of Vienna.

From Peru, he received the decoration Knight Commander Orden del Sol and the Orden Daniel Carrion (Comendador) Medal. He also received the Diploma of Honor, Municipality San Isidro, Peru. In addition, he was an Honorary Fellow of the Sociedad de Cirugia de Madrid.

On a number of occasions, Dr. DeVault returned to the Indiana University School of Medicine as a consultant. During these visits, he counseled faculty members and students on international trends and opportunities in medicine and other health professions.

Dr. DeVault contributed numerous medical articles for professional publications.

Dr. DeVault died in Washington, D.C., on May 25, 2000.