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Academic Health Center Oral History Project

About the School of Medicine

The University of Minnesota Medical School held its first classes in 1888, after three of the four private medical schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul offered their charters and resources to the state. In 1911 the Elliot Memorial Hospital was opened, giving Minnesota medical students a greater opportunity to gain clinical experience. In the 1950s the Medical School received substantial funds from the federal government for the construction of research facilities. The medical school curriculum was reformed in 1960 to include more clinical experience for juniors and seniors and in 1968 the Board of Regents supported the expansion of medical training facilities into St. Paul, Duluth and Rochester, Minnesota. In 1972, the Board of Regents established a two-year medical school at the Duluth campus, where the focus would be on educating physicians to serve in rural communities. After completing two years of preclinical studies at the Duluth campus, students would go on to complete clinical clerkships in Duluth, Minneapolis, or St. Paul. In the fall of 1986 the MD / PhD program was initiated at the Medical School.

Please click here for the Medical School timeline.

Anderson, Arnold

Arne Anderson.JPGArnold Anderson received his MD in 1943 and his MA in 1950 from the University of Minnesota. He served as a pediatrician in the U.S. Army, stationed in both the US and Europe during World War II. Following his residency, Dr. Anderson went into private practice with a group of doctors and established the St. Louis Park Medical Center (now the Park Nicollet Medical Center) in 1950. He was integral in the development and establishment of the Minneapolis Children's Medical Center and was named the medical director and CEO in 1967, before the hospital was built. He also served as director of patient care at Minneapolis Children's Medical Center from 1977 to 1987.

Benson, Ellis

Benson.JPGEllis Benson received his MD from the University of Minnesota in 1945, and completed residencies in pathology and internal medicine at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Minneapolis. He joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1949 in the departments of Medicine and Pathology. He chaired the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology from 1966 until his retirement in 1989.

Blackburn, Henry

black002.jpgHenry Blackburn received his MD from Tulane University in 1948, and his MS from the University of Minnesota in 1957. He joined the University of Minnesota as a medical fellow in the Department of Medicine in 1953. From 1956, he was a faculty member in the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene in the School of Public Health, where he worked with Ancel Keys. Upon the retirement of Dr. Keys in 1972, Dr. Blackburn was appointed director of the Laboratory, a position he held until its merger with the Division of Epidemiology in 1983. He then became head of the new Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, a position he held until 1990.

Briggs, Mary

Mary Briggs was one of the founders of the University of Minnesota's Program in Human Sexuality, located in the Department of Family Practice and Community Health. She was integral in the founding of the Program in Human Sexuality in 1971 and was a staff member of the Program until her departure from the University in 1978.

Brown, David

DBrown.jpgDr. David Brown completed his pediatric residency at the University of Minnesota in 1962. He returned in 1967 and became an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Laboratory Medicine. He advanced at the University, becoming an associate professor and acting head of that department, and director of clinical laboratories. He served as dean of the Medical School from 1984-1993. After his resignation as dean, Dr. Brown returned to teaching and research, serving as head of the Clinical Research Center and as a Professor of Pediatrics and Laboratory Medicine. He retired in 2002.

Buchwald, Henry

Buchwald Pic.jpg Dr. Henry Buchwald began his residency at the University of Minnesota on September 11, 1960. He concurrently completed his Master's in Biochemistry under Dr. Ivan Frantz and became a professor in 1966. Dr. Buchwald's career has included research into the partial illeal bypass for the alleviation of chronically high cholesterol as part of the widely praised POSCH trials; the creation of the first implantable infusion pump, Infusaid, for the treatment of diabetes; and most recently the jejunoileal bypass for the treatment of obesity. He continues to be a professor of surgery and bioengineering at the University and is an Emeritus Professor of the Owen H. and Sarah Davidson Wangensteen Chair in Experimental Surgery.

Cavert, H. Mead

Cavert.jpgH. Mead Cavert received his BS in Agricultural Biochemistry in 1942, his MD in 1951, and his Ph.D. in Physiology in 1952, all from the University of Minnesota. He joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota's Medical School in the Department of Physiology in 1953. From 1957 until 1968, Cavert served as assistant dean and then associate dean of Medical Student Affairs. He served as associate dean of the Medical School from 1968 until 1992.

Ederer, Grace M.

Grace Ederer joined the University of Minnesota in the University Hospital as an administrator of the clinical laboratories, a position she held from 1952 to 1963. During her time at the University, Ederer earned her masters in public health in 1962. After spending fifteen years as administrator of clinical laboratories, she took a new position as assistant to the director of clinical laboratories in the microbiology area of the Division of Medical Technology and became an assistant professor. She became an associate professor in 1967, serving in that position until her retirement in 1982.

Felder, Davitt

Felder.JPGDavitt Felder received his MD from Yale School of Medicine in 1942. He earned a PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1953. He completed an internship in surgery at the University of Minnesota. During the 1950s he was assigned to the general surgical services at the University of Minnesota Hospital, Ancker Hospital in St. Paul, and the Minneapolis General Hospital. He spent most of his career in private surgical practice. In the 1960s, he was a founding member of the Northern Association for Medical Education, which led efforts to establish a second medical in St. Paul.

Geist, Robert

Geist.JPGRobert Geist received his BA in 1951, his BS in 1952, and his MD in 1954 from the University of Minnesota. He completed a residency in urology at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Minneapolis. Geist spent his career working in private practice in the Twin Cities area.

Howard, Robert B.

RHoward.JPGRobert Howard received his BA in 1942, his MD in 1945, and his PhD in 1952 all from the University of Minnesota. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota Hospital. He joined the faculty of the Department of Medicine in 1948, and served as associate dean of the Medical School from 1957 to 1958. From 1958 until 1969, Howard served as Dean of the College of Medical Sciences.

Hunt, Vincent

Vincent Hunt.JPGVincent Hunt began his career practicing medicine in the rural community of Red Lake Falls, MN. In 1969, he returned to the University of Minnesota for his residency in family medicine as part of the new Family Practice and Community Health residency program. He then went to Hennepin County Medical Center. In 1971, he became the director of Family Medicine at St. Paul-Ramsey Hospital.

Kando, Thomas

Thomas Kando received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Minnesota in 1969. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the transsexual women who went through the University of Minnesota's transsexual surgery program in the late 1960s.

Kersey, John

Kersey.jpgJohn Kersey received his MD from the University of Minnesota in 1964, and completed residencies in Pathology and Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. He subsequently joined the faculty of the Medical School in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine, Pathology, and Pediatrics. From 1974 to 1995, Kersey was the director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Center, and the founding Director of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center from 1991 until 2007.

Kottke, Frederic

FKottke.JPGFrederic Kottke attended the University of Minnesota for his undergraduate and graduate education, receiving his BS in 1939, his MS in 1941, his Ph.D. in Physiology with a minor in pathology in 1944, and his MD in 1945. He joined the faculty of the Medical School in 1941 and served as head of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation from 1952 to 1982.

Kottke, Thomas

TKottke.JPGThomas Kottke received his BA in anthropology in 1970 and his MD in 1974 from the University of Minnesota. After completing a residency in internal medicine and a Masters in Epidemiology he returned to the University of Minnesota and completed a three-year fellowship in cardiology and preventive cardiology. He then joined the staff in cardiology in the Department of Medicine. While a medical student at the University of Minnesota, Kottke helped established the Council for Interdisciplinary Health Programs (CHIP). In 1987, he moved to the Mayo Clinic.

Learn, Elmer

Learn.JPGElmer Learn received his BS in 1950, his MS in 1951, and his Ph.D. in agricultural economics in 1957 from Pennsylvania State University. Learn served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota's Department of Agricultural Economics from 1956 until 1969. In October 1964, President O. Meredith Wilson appointed Dr. Learn to chair the Committee for the Study of Physical Facilities for the Health Sciences. In this role, and as executive assistant to the President, Dr. Learn played a key role in the reorganization of the health sciences and the creation of the Academic Health Center.

Lillehei, Katherine

lillehei.jpgKatherine Lillehei received her nursing diploma in 1943, and her BS in Nursing in 1950 from the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. After graduating she worked as a nurse at University Hospital. She was married to the pioneering cardiac surgeon C. Walton Lillehei. She also remained involved with the School of Nursing, playing a prominent role in its fundraising efforts, and serving on the board of the School of Nursing Foundation.

Magraw, Richard

Richard Magraw.JPGRichard Magraw received his M.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1944. After several years in private practice, he joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota's medical school in 1950. During his tenure at the University, Dr. Magraw served as assistant dean of the College of Medical Sciences and director of the Comprehensive Clinical Program. He left the University in 1967 to serve as assistant director of the Bureau of Medical Services and then as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Manpower, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. He later served as dean of the University of Illinois Medical School, President of Eastern Virginia Medical School, and chief of medicine at the VA Hospital in Minneapolis.

McCollister, Robert

McCollister.jpgRobert McCollister received his MD from the University of Iowa in 1953. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Minneapolis (1955-58) and then in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Minnesota (1958-59). In 1962, he joined the faculty of the Medical School in the Division of Hematology within the Department of Medicine. In 1964 he was appointed assistant dean of Medical Student Affairs, and from the late 1960s worked with the Medical School's Educational Policy Committee, which was responsible for maintaining the medical school curriculum. From the early 1980s until his retirement in 2005, McCollister served as associate dean of curriculum affairs in the Medical School.

Mulhausen, Robert

Mulhausen.JPGRobert Mulhausen received his MD from the University of Illinois in 1955. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Minneapolis from 1956-59. He served as a faculty member in the Department of Medicine in the University of Minnesota Medical School from 1959 until 1973. He served as assistant dean and then associate dean of the Medical School from 1967 until 1973.

Quie, Paul

Paul-G-Quie-MD 2.jpegPaul Quie received his MD from Yale Medical School in 1953, and completed his residency in Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota University Hospitals. He has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics since 1958. From 1979 until 1984, Dr. Quie was Chief of Staff at the University Hospitals and Clinics, and in 1985 he was the first director of the University's Biomedical Ethics Center.

Siefkes, James

JimSiefkes.jpgJames Siefkes received his BA from Trinity University of San Antonio, his Master of Divinity from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, his Doctor of Sexual Attitude Reassessment (DSAR) from the National Sex Forum in San Francisco, and his Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) from Wartburg Theological Seminary. In 1969, he helped start the new Department of Congregational Social Concerns at the American Lutheran Church national office in Minneapolis and began serving as its director. In 1970, he established a trial seminar on human sexuality with the help of the National Sex Forum at the Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco. From this, he became involved with the University of Minnesota Medical School and the Program in Human Sexuality. He remained involved with the Program in Human Sexuality through the mid-1970s, working part-time on their staff.

Sullivan, Theresa

TSullivan.JPGTheresa Sullivan received her BS in Nursing Education from the University of Minnesota in 1947. She worked in the University Hospital as a nurse until her marriage to Dr. Albert Sullivan, who was a faculty member in the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota from the early 1950s and served as associate dean of student affairs at the Medical School from the 1960s.

Ulstrom, Robert

Ulstrom.JPGRobert Ulstrom received his BS in 1943 and his MD in 1946 from the University of Minnesota. He completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. He was a faculty member in the University of Minnesota Medical School's Department of Pediatrics from 1950-1953, 1956-1964, and from 1966 until his retirement in 1990. In those intervening years, Ulstrom was a faculty member and later chair of UCLA's Department of Pediatrics. Between 1966 and 1970, Ulstrom served as associate dean of the University of Minnesota's Medical School.

Weckwerth, Vernon

VWeckwerth.JPG Vernon Weckwerth completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Minnesota. He earned his B.S. in 1954 in Mathematics and Education while in the Air Force ROTC. He earned his M.S. in 1956 in Biostatistics and Mathematics, and his Ph.D. in 1963 in Biostatistics and Public Health. While working on his Ph.D., from 1958 to 1959, Weckwerth taught Biostatistics in the School of Public Health and also worked in Chicago as the head of the Department of Research and Statistics of the AHA and as Assistant Director of Hospital Research and the Educational Trust. Weckwerth returned to the University of Minnesota as a summer program administrator and lecturer. Because of his experiences in Chicago, he became a professor of hospital administration in the School of Public Health in 1964. During his tenure, he began the Independent Study Program, tailored as an executive training program particularly for rural administrators. In that same year, Weckwerth became a coordinator for the Office of Continuing Hospital and Health Care Education. In 1969, he also became a professor in the Department of Family Practice, which he launched. He formally retired in 2009, but continues to do work with the University.