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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.JPG Arnold Anderson earned his M.D. in 1943 and his MA in 1950 from the University of Minnesota. In 1950, Dr. Anderson became part Medical School's faculty in pediatrics. 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.JPG Ellis Benson received his M.D. 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 earned his M.S. from the University of Minnesota in 1957 and became a medical fellow in the Department of Medicine in 1953. In 1956, he became 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.jpg Dr. 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 to 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 in 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.jpg H. Mead Cavert received his B.S. in Agricultural Biochemistry in 1942, his M.D. in 1951, and his Ph.D. in Physiology in 1952, all from the University of Minnesota. He joined the faculty of the University'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.

Coleman, Eli

EColeman.jpg Dr. Eli Coleman earned his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota in 1978 and became a professor in the Program in Human Sexuality that same year. He became director of the Program in 1991, and continues to serve in this position.

Delaney, John P.

JDelaney.JPGJohn Delaney earned a medical degree and doctorate in physiology and surgery from the University of Minnesota in 1955 and 1966, respectively. He completed his residency in the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota (1959-1966). He has been a faculty member in the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota since 1965.

Ederer, Grace M.

GEderer.jpg 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.JPG Davitt Felder earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1953 where he also completed an internship in surgery. In the 1950s, he was assigned to the general surgical services at the University of Minnesota Hospital, Ancker Hospital in St. Paul, and 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 school in St. Paul.

Geist, Robert

Geist.JPG Robert Geist received his B.A. in 1951, his B.S. in 1952, and his M.D. in 1954, all 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.

Hogenkamp, Harry

HHogenkamp.jpg Dr. Henricus "Harry" Hogenkamp, a prominent vitamin B-12 resarcher, was recruited to the University of Minnesota to serve as head of the Department of Biochemistry in the Medical School in 1976. He held this position until 1992 and retired in 2000.

Howard, Robert B.

RHoward.JPGRobert Howard received his B.A. in 1942, his M.D. in 1945, and his Ph.D. 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.JPG Vincent Hunt received his M.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1960 In 1969, he returned to the University for his residency in family medicine as part of the new Family Practice and Community Health residency program.

Jacott, William

WJacott.jpg William Jacott earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) and his M.D. in 1964 from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMTC). After working in private practice, Dr. Jacott became head of Family Medicine and director of the Duluth Family Practice residency at UMD from 1974 to 1978. In 1987, he was recruited to be assistant vice president for the health sciences at UMTC. He became interim and then permanent chair of the Department of Family Practice and Community Health in 1995. He retired in 2004.

Kando, Thomas

Thomas Kando received his Ph.D. 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.

Karni, Karen

Dr. Karen Karni earned her bachelor's degree in medical technology at the University of Minnesota in 1963. After working, teaching, and earning her master's degree elsewhere, she returned to the University as an instructor in the medical technology program in 1970. She earned her Ph.D. in education at the University in 1985 and was promoted to assistant professor in 1981, associate professor in 1989, and full professor in 1996. Dr. Karni also served as director of the medical technology program from 1984 until her retirement in 2000.

Kersey, John

Kersey.jpg John Kersey received his M.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1964 and completed residencies in pathology and pediatrics at the University. 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, a position he held until 2007.

Kottke, Frederic

FKottke.JPG Frederic Kottke attended the University of Minnesota for his undergraduate and graduate education, receiving his B.S. in 1939, his M.S. 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.JPG Thomas Kottke received his B.A. in anthropology in 1970 and his M.D. in 1974, both from the University of Minnesota. After completing a residency in internal medicine and a master's 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 establish the Council for Interdisciplinary Health Programs (CHIP). In 1987, he moved to the Mayo Clinic.

Learn, Elmer

Learn.JPGElmer 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.

Levitt, Seymour

SLevitt.JPG Dr. Seymour Levitt was recruited to the University of Minnesota as a professor in and head of the Department of Therapeutic Radiology in 1970 as well as chief of the Therapeutic Radiology Service. In 1997, an endowed chair in clinical radiation oncology was created in his name. He continues to be on the faculty of the University of Minnesota as a professor emeritus.

Lillehei, Katherine

lillehei.jpg Katherine Lillehei received her nursing diploma in 1943 and her B.S. 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.JPG Richard 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.

McCollister, Robert

McCollister.jpg Robert McCollister 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 onward, 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.

Michael, Alfred

AMichael.jpgDr. Alfred Michael, a pediatric and kidney specialist, came to the University of Minnesota as a fellow in 1960 to work with immunologist Dr. Robert A. Good. In 1973, he became chief of the Immunopathology Laboratory. He became a Regents' Professor and head of the Department of Pediatrics in 1986. Then, in 1997, Dr. Michael succeeded Dr. Frank Cerra as dean of the Medical School. He resigned as dean in 2002.

Mulhausen, Robert

Mulhausen.JPG Robert Mulhausen completed a residency in internal medicine at the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Minneapolis from 1956 to 1959. He served as a faculty member in the Department of Medicine in the University of Minnesota's Medical School from 1959 until 1973. He served as assistant dean and then associate dean of the Medical School from 1967 until 1973.

Najarian, John

JNajarian.jpgDr. John Najarian became professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 1967. He developed an internationally recognized transplant program at the University, which performed many of the early and more complicated pancreas, liver, and kidney transplants, and supported the training of many important figures in organ transplantation. As part of his transplant work, Dr. Najarian also developed Minnesota antilymphocyte globulin (ALG) to decrease chances of organ rejection. In 1993, Dr. Najarian resigned as chairman due to federal and university investigations into the sale of ALG. Dr. Najarian was ultimately exonerated of all charges and continues to serve in the Department of Surgery. In 2007, the University created an endowed chair in Dr. Najarian's name to support research in organ transplantation.

Quie, Paul

Paul-G-Quie-MD 2.jpeg Paul Quie completed his residency in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Hospital. 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.jpg James Siefkes established a trial seminar on human sexuality with the help of the National Sex Forum at the Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco in 1971. From this work, 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.JPG Theresa Sullivan received her B.S. 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 also served as associate dean of student affairs at the Medical School in the 1960s.

Ulstrom, Robert

Ulstrom.JPG Robert Ulstrom received his B.S. in 1943 and his M.D. in 1946 from the University of Minnesota. In 1950, Dr. Ulstrom returned to the University of Minnesota Medical School's Department of Pediatrics, where he served from 1950 to 1953, 1956 to 1964, and from 1966 until his retirement in 1990. 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. Weckwerth returned to the University of Minnesota as a summer program administrator and lecturer. 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.