William D. Sawyer spent most of his career in academic medicine, research, and administration. His own research focused on infectious diseases, especially the mechanisms of infection. In addition to serving as professor, chairman, or dean at various universities, he also served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. In 1987, Sawyer became President of the China Medical Board. He received many honors from the Chinese government, including the Chinese Health Medal, the government’s highest award to foreigners for contributions to the health of the Chinese people.