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Medical School (University of Michigan) records: 1850-2014
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History

While the University of Michigan's charters of 1817 and 1837 both called for the inclusion of medical education within the curriculum, no action was taken to carry out this mandate until 1848. On January 19 of that year the regents appropriated funds for the construction of a building to house a new Medical Department. In the fall of 1850, when the building was completed, the first courses in medicine were taught.

The two available faculty members offered a six month course of study. Most material was taught through lectures. Ward rounds were perfunctory and no laboratory courses were required. A strict set of prerequisites for admission to the program existed, but in practice any student was admitted and then given up to two years to complete the prerequisite education. Administration was extremely limited. The "Rules of Government of the Medical College," adopted in July 1850, required the medical faculty to annually elect one of their number "president." By 1853, the title "president" had been superseded by that of "dean."

Throughout the nineteenth century the school grew and matured. The period of study lengthened, the number and type of courses grew, the quality of the students improved, and the administration of the college became more sophisticated. The length of study was increased repeatedly. In 1877-1878, the regents required of any student wishing to receive a medical degree one full academic year of study. At the same time an optional three year program was established. In 1880-1881, the three-year program was made mandatory, and in 1890-1891, the mandatory program was lengthened to four years.

The expanded amount of training naturally involved an increasing number of courses. Courses changed not only in number, however, but also in character. While lectures remained an important part of medical education, they were supplemented by mandatory laboratory courses and extensive rounds. The first mandatory laboratory course, anatomy, was initiated in 1852-1853. It was followed by qualitative chemistry, urine analysis, and histological work (microscopic analysis). In 1856-1857, the school's perfunctory rounds were superseded by more satisfactory clinics. The construction of the first university hospital in 1869, substantially increased in size in 1876 and again in 1879, gave students the opportunity to observe a variety of injuries and diseases.

Admission standards also changed. In 1874, written examinations were required of all candidates. In 1875-1876, candidates claiming other educational work were required to submit credentials. In 1903 a high school diploma was made mandatory for admission, and in 1912 a de facto rule of three years earlier requiring all candidates to have completed two years of college was stated explicitly. The first minimum grade point average appears to have been established in 1921.

The administration of the school remained vested in elected deans until 1891. In that year the regents amended their bylaws, giving themselves exclusive power to appoint deans. The effect of this decision on the Medical School was to strengthen the dean's position. Between 1850 and 1891 seven men served thirteen terms of office as dean, the average term in office lasting slightly more than three years. The regents' first appointed Dean of the Medical School, Victor C. Vaughan, held the position for thirty years.

Vaughan's retirement, in 1921, saw the Medical School at a highwater mark. Vaughan himself had been a distinguished researcher, author, and educator, as well as a past president of the American Medical Association. He had first come to Michigan in 1874 as a student, and joined the faculty of the Medical School in 1879. He had attracted to Michigan a distinguished faculty, given the school a reputation for educational innovation, and left it one of the nation's pre-eminent medical colleges.

While Michigan remained a leader in medical education after Vaughan's retirement, the faculty was divided by a bitter factional dispute centering around Vaughan's successor as dean, Hugh Cabot. Cabot, a Harvard educated surgeon who had served at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1902 to 1919, proved unable to deal with the situation. Dissension reached the point at which several key faculty members believed the school's continuing success depended upon Cabot's removal as dean. In February 1930 the regents "...in the interests of greater harmony in the Medical School," removed Cabot from his position as dean and authorized the president of the university to appoint a committee of five to direct the affairs of the school.

The Executive Committee, consisted of Frederick G. Novy, chair, James D. Bruce, Harley A. Jaynes, Udo J. Wile, and Arthur C. Curtis. It governed the Medical School until 1933, when one of its number, Frederick Novy, was appointed dean. Novy, a contemporary of Vaughan's, was close to retirement and it seems clear that his appointment was a final honor bestowed upon a senior and distinguished faculty member rather than a permanent selection. Despite the selection of Novy as dean, the Executive Committee continued to play an important role in the administration of the school.

In 1935, a permanent replacement for Cabot was appointed. Perhaps reacting to both the failure of the outsider Cabot and the success of the University of Michigan schooled Vaughan, an internal candidate was chosen as dean. Albert C. Furstenberg had received virtually all of his medical experience at Michigan. The university had awarded him his medical degree in 1915, and he subsequently joined the Medical School's faculty. Furstenberg's appointment did little to rein in the virtually independent faculty. The Executive Committee continued to meet regularly, and the various departments, which had always acted with independence, now possessed virtual sovereignty. Throughout his tenure as dean, Furstenberg exercised his authority with needed diplomacy.

After the conclusion of the Second World War the Medical School, like the rest of the university, experienced rapidly increasing demands for service. Most important were repeated requests by the state legislature that the school expand to increase the number of doctors available in the state. Coupled with this request were other requests that the number of out-of-state students be reduced or eliminated entirely. From a 1940 base of 120 members per class, the numbers of students in each class slowly increased to 165 in 1951. In 1952, the opening of new physical facilities allowed class size to increase to 204. This number slowly increased for the next thirty years, reaching approximately 235. The school also voluntarily imposed a drastic limit on the number of out-of-state students it accepted.

To meet the increasing demands for education, and to staff a vastly increased research program, faculty size grew dramatically. In 1940, the Medical School had approximately 140 faculty members. In 1971, there were 578 faculty members. Physical facilities also grew. Eight major construction projects were undertaken between 1947 and 1955. Between 1955 and 1970 another fourteen projects were undertaken, including the Kresge Research addition (1964), Medical Science II (1969), Towsley Center (1970) and C.S. Mott Children's Hospital (1970). Throughout the 1970s planning was undertaken for the construction of a new University Hospital to replace the often renovated structure constructed in 1925. The Replacement Hospital Project dominated thinking throughout the decade.

Expanded physical facilities proved inadequate to deal with the complex education needs of the Medical School. To better meet these needs, the school entered into agreements with several affiliated or "core" hospitals. St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Veterans Administration Hospital (Ann Arbor), Wayne County General Hospital, and Henry Ford Hospital (Detroit), all formally agreed to offer clinical educational resources to medical students from the University of Michigan.

Governing the vastly expanded Medical School became an increasingly complex problem. In 1940, administration consisted of the dean, the secretary of the faculty, the three member Executive Committee, and a registrar or recorder. In 1947, the first associate dean, Maurice H. Seevers, was appointed. Throughout the remainder of Dean Furstenberg's term of office he was aided by either an associate or assistant dean.

In 1959, Furstenberg was succeeded as dean by William N. Hubbard, Jr. Hubbard had received his medical training in New York City, and had continued to reside there, serving as an associate dean of the New York University College of Medicine, until his appointment as dean in Ann Arbor. He quickly expanded the administrative structure of his predecessor. In 1960-1961, he appointed a new assistant dean, and added three new assistants to the dean, one of them being J. A. Diana who was responsible for business operations. In 1961-1962, he revived the title associate dean, unused since 1951, and added that position to the new positions now in place. Among Hubbard's appointments to these many positions were Alexander Barry (1963-1964), Fred Hodges (1965-1966), Robert A. Green (1967-1968), and George R. DeMuth (1968-1969).

In 1969, a sweeping reform occurred in the administration of the entire hospital hill complex. The University Hospital Study and Advisory Committee, chaired by Fedele F. Fauri (commonly referred to as the Fauri Committee), and appointed by University President Robben Fleming, recommended combining the administration of the hospital and the medical school under a single person, the Director of the University of Michigan Medical Center. This recommendation, and several others, were carried out by the regents on February 21, 1969. The position was given to Hubbard, who also continued to serve as dean of the Medical School.

In 1970, Hubbard was replaced as dean by John A. Gronvall. Gronvall also became director of the Medical Center. Gronvall, like Hubbard, continued to modify the administrative structure of the Medical School. In 1972-1973, he appointed Thomas J. Herrmann as associate dean, and added two new assistant deans to the school, one of them Charles L. Votaw. In subsequent years, Gronvall recognized the importance of the various affiliated hospitals by appointing separate assistant deans to oversee educational activities in each of them. While overseeing the modification of the administrative structure of the Medical School itself, Gronvall also took part in the dismantling of much of the Fauri Committee's work. Dissatisfaction with the way the administrative structures proposed by the committee actually worked led, in December 1974, to a reorganization of the entire administrative structure. The Medical Center as an administrative entity was abolished, and Dean Gronvall was no longer required to exercise direct administrative oversight of hospital operations.

In 1982, Dean Gronvall resigned from his position as dean. Peter A. Ward served as interim dean from 1982 to 1985. Seizing in part on the fact that the Medical School was administered by an interim dean, university president Harold Shapiro recommended to the regents in 1983 the creation of a new office of vice provost for medical affairs. The dean of the Medical School and the executive director of the University Hospital would report to the new vice provost who in turn would report to the vice president for academic affairs and provost. This arrangement was designed to provide a single node of responsibility for the Medical Center, while maintaining the Medical School within the overall academic structure of the university. On April 1, 1984, George D. Zuidema was appointed as vice provost for medical affairs.

In 1985, Joseph E. Johnson was named as dean of the Medical School. Johnson remained until 1990, after which Giles Bole served first as acting dean, then as dean, beginning in 1991. In 1994, Zuidema retired as vice provost for medical affairs. At that time the position was reevaluated and reconfigured as vice provost for health affairs. On July 1, 1994, Rhetaugh Dumas was appointed to the re-designated vice provost position.

In 1996 Giles Bole resigned as dean and was succeeded by Lorris Betz as interim dean. In 1998 Allen S. Lichter succeeded Betz as interim dean before being appointed dean. A new position was created in 1997, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs. Gilbert Omenn was named to this new position in September 1997.

Lichter served as the dean until 2006, when he stepped down. James O. Woolliscroft began serving as the dean immediately following. Building upon his tenure as an Associate Dean, Woolliscroft continued to work on an in depth review of the department and faculty of the Medical School. Woolliscroft put a large focus of his efforts as dean on academics and student academi achievement on all levels. Effort was also placed on increasing diversity within the Medical School as during Woolliscroft's tenure. The school appointed its first openly gay administrator, Dr. Elizabeth Petty, as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and first African American to lead a department, Dr. John Carethers, as Chief of Department of Internal Medicine. Woolliscroft also played an important role in acquiring of the North Campus Research Center by the University of Michigan. Woolliscroft stepped down at the end of 2015.

Marschall S. Runge was appointed dean of the Medical School in early 2016.

Medical School Deans (Elected)

1850-1851 Abram Sager
1851-1853 Samuel Denton
1853-1857 Silas H. Douglass
1857-1858 Samuel Denton
1858-1859 Moses Gunn
1859-1861 Abram Sager
1861-1863 Corydon L. Ford
1863-1868 Silas H. Douglass
1868-1875 Abram Sager
1875-1879 Alonzo B. Palmer
1879-1880 Corydon L. Ford
1880-1887 Alonzo B. Palmer
1887-1891 Corydon L. Ford

Medical School Deans (Appointed)

1891-1921 Victor C. Vaughn
1921-1930 Hugh Cabot
1931-1933 Executive Committee of five: Frederick G. Novy (chair), James D. Bruce, Harley A. Jaynes, Udo J. Wile, Arthur C. Curtis
1933-1935 Frederick G. Novy
1935-1959 Albert C. Furstenberg
1959-1970 William N. Hubbard, Jr.
1970-1982 John A. Gronvall
1982-1985 Peter A. Ward (interim)
1985-1990 Joseph E. Johnson III
1990 Giles G. Bole (acting)
1991-1996 Giles G. Bole
1996-1998 A. Lorris Betz (interim)
1998 Allen S. Lichter (interim)
1998-2006 Allen S. Lichter
2007-2015 James O. Woolliscroft
2016- Marschall S. Runge