INASMUCH as our by-laws specifically state that "a meeting of the Academy shall be held each year, to be known as the Annual Meeting, at which time the conferring of Fellowships shall take place and a presidential address shall be delivered," neither you nor I have any choice in the matter! Nothing is specified, however, regarding either the length or the content of such an address so that this would appear to be left to the discretion of each President—leaving the membership to hope that he will use this discretion wisely.
I have just finished re-reading each of the Presidential Addresses given by my 31 predecessors—and I heartily recommend that you do likewise if you are interested in receiving a most stimulating review not only of the history of our Academy, but of American pediatrics since 1930.
I found that these addresses varied greatly as to length, style, and content—reflecting the individual viewpoints and natures of their authors. Some were highly optimistic, a few distinctly pessimistic, about our specialty. Nearly all reviewed the major accomplishments of their year in office in varying detail, and many referred to the influence of the times in which they wrote upon pediatrics in general and the Academy in particular. Many reiterated the importance of the objectives of the Academy as defined with prophetic vision by our Founding Fathers, and despite the variations in viewpoint and in time, all stressed, as I too would like to, the broad emphasis upon "the welfare of children" contained in the opening sentence of Section I of Article II— "The object of the Academy shall be to foster and stimulate interest in pediatrics and correlate all aspects of the work for the welfare of children which properly come within the scope of pediatrics."
- Copyright © 1962 by the American Academy of Pediatrics