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Historical Milestones

Celebrating 120 Years:  1893-2013

In 2013, the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) marks the 120th anniversary of the institution’s founding. It is also the 100th anniversary of MCW's long and formative years as the Marquette University School of Medicine.

MCW has grown into a nationally recognized education, research and clinical powerhouse.

View the Historical Milestones (pdf).
 

1893 - 1918   |   1920s - 1950s   |   1960s   |   1970s   |   1980s   |   1990 - 2005   |   2007 - Current

1893   

  • (May 20, 1893)  The Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons is founded, Milwaukee’s first medical school.  It is a proprietary medical school owned and operated by a group of local physicians.  A. Hamilton Levings, MD, is the medical school’s first president.
  • (October 1893)  The Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons first medical school class begins studies with 42 students and 22 faculty members.  Faculty members are shareholders in the corporation.  The medical school is located at the corner of 25th and Walnut Streets in Milwaukee.

1894   

  • Two students graduate from the Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons, the first physicians to graduate from a Milwaukee medical school.
  • The Milwaukee Medical College and School of Dentistry is founded.  Milwaukee’s second medical school is owned and operated by local physicians.  The Milwaukee Medical College opened with an enrollment of 96 students in a building located at Ninth and Wells Streets in Milwaukee.
  • Milwaukee Children’s Hospital is founded.

1898   

  • The Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons moves to a new building at the corner of Fourth Street and Reservoir Avenue in Milwaukee.

1899   

  • The Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons adds a dental department and begins training dentists.

1900   

  • (Date approximate)  Both the Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Milwaukee Medical College forge major clinical affiliations with Milwaukee County General Hospital, located on the Milwaukee County Grounds (now the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center). 

1902   

  • The Milwaukee County Medical Society brings suit against the Milwaukee Medical College, accusing it of inefficiency and irregularities.  The medical school counters with a libel suit against the medical society.  The charges are brought before the Association of American Medical Colleges, which determines that the irregularities are true.  The AAMC severely censures the Milwaukee Medical College.

1907   

  • Milwaukee Medical College affiliates with Marquette University and becomes Marquette’s Department of Medicine.  Marquette has nominal responsibility for the medical school without any control.  The Milwaukee Medical College remains an independent institution with its own Board of Trustees.

1908   

  • Total enrollment at the Milwaukee Medical College and School of Dentistry is 350 students.  A nursing school is added.  Over 100 clinical faculty members are associated with the medical school.  In addition to Milwaukee County General Hospital, the medical school’s major hospital affiliates are the Milwaukee County Insane Asylum and Trinity Hospital.

1909   

  • The Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons affiliates with Carroll College in Waukesha, but retains its own management and Board of Trustees.  More than 50 clinical faculty members are affiliated with the medical school.

1910   

  • The Carnegie Foundation commissions Abraham Flexner to study medical education in the United States.  The Flexner Report is highly critical of both Milwaukee medical schools.  The report leads to periodic inspections of medical colleges by the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association.
  • The Council on Medical Education awards “B” ratings to both the Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Milwaukee Medical College.

1912   

  • The Milwaukee Medical College’s tuition is $70 per semester.
  • The Council on Medical Education warns that both the Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Milwaukee Medical College could receive “C” ratings unless improvements are made.  The possibility of “C” ratings create concern for the Wisconsin State Board of Medical Examiners.  Several states refuse to recognize graduates of medical schools rated in class “C”
  • The Council on Medical Education recommends that Milwaukee’s two medical schools be merged.  The entire student body at Milwaukee Medical College leaves their classes and marches en masse to the Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons to enroll there.

1913   

  • (January 14, 1913)  Marquette University purchases the financially-ailing Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons and leases the Milwaukee Medical College’s building.  The two medical schools are merged creating the Marquette University School of Medicine.  Louis F. Jermain, MD, is named the first Dean of the medical school.  He would continue to serve as Dean until 1926.
  • The dental programs at both the Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Milwaukee Medical College are merged to create the Marquette University School of Dentistry.

1915   

  • The Marquette University School of Medicine receives an “A” rating from the Council on Medical Education.  A clinical affiliation is forged with St. Joseph Hospital, which is across the street from the medical school’s building at Fourth and Reservoir Streets in Milwaukee.  Major clinical experiences, however, continue to be at Milwaukee County General Hospital.

1917   

  • The Carnegie Foundation offers the Marquette University School of Medicine nearly $340,000 toward an endowment of $1 million.  The campaign secures the remaining $660,000 through a successful public subscription program.
  • The Marquette University School of Medicine is organized into a separate fiscal corporation.  A Board of Trustees is elected.  Most teachers are full-time community physicians who volunteer their services in the classroom.
  • Annual medical school tuition is $200.  Room and board for a full year is $250.

1918   

  • Total medical school enrollment is 76 students distributed over the four years.
  • Additional clinical affiliations are forged with the Johnston Emergency Hospital (Second and Sycamore – now Michigan – Streets in Milwaukee), Milwaukee Children’s Hospital, located at 10th and Wells Streets, and South View Municipal Hospital (also known as Isolation Hospital) located on Mitchell Street.

1920   

  • An added requirement for successful completion of medical education is a one-year internship in an approved hospital.
  • Mrs. Harriet Cramer, widow of the publisher of the Evening Wisconsin newspaper, contributes $1 million to the Marquette University School of Medicine endowment.

1923   

  • Father Albert Fox, President of Marquette University, announces plans to develop a “Health Center” on the Marquette campus that would include a hospital, the medical school and a nursing school.  Father Fox hopes to fund the project through gifts from the Carnegie Foundation.  The project was abandoned when the Carnegie Foundation said it could not provide the needed funding.

1925   

  • (November 1925)  The Marquette University School of Medicine Alumni Association is formed.

1926   

  • Eben J. Carey, MD, is named Acting Dean.  He served in that role until 1928.

1928   

  • Bernard F. McGrath, MD, is appointed Dean, a position he would hold until 1933.

1932   

  • The Harriet L. Cramer Memorial Building on the Marquette campus is opened.  The building serves as a new home for the medical school. 

1933   

  • First year medical school enrollment is 100 students.
  • Eben J. Carey, MD, is named Dean.  He will hold the position until 1947.

1935   

  • Medical school tuition is $391 per year. 

1936   

  • (June 1936)  Marquette University awards the first graduate degrees to students studying in medical departments.

1939   

  • The Marquette University School of Medicine’s admissions requirements are raised; applicants must have completed a minimum of three years of premedical liberal arts collegiate coursework.

1942   

  • In order to supply enough physicians and surgeons for World War II, all teaching programs are accelerated.  Three full semesters of study are compressed into one year.  All students are enlisted in the military and placed in uniform.  Graduation ceremonies are held in both May and November.

1945   

  • (December 1945)  Forty interns and residents at Milwaukee County General Hospital go on strike because of deficiencies at the hospital (lack of medications, supplies, laboratory equipment, etc.)  The strike is settled when Milwaukee County agrees to forge closer ties between the medical school and the hospital.

1946   

  • (January 22, 1946)  The Milwaukee Veterans Administration Hospital affiliates with the medical school.  To improve the quality of care for veterans nationwide, the federal government requires that each VA hospital must affiliate with a local medical school.  The Milwaukee V.A. Hospital is one of the first to respond with its affiliation with the Marquette University School of Medicine.

1947

  • Regular academic years are restored.
  • John S. Hirschboeck, MD, is named Dean following the death of Dr. Eben Carey.  Dr. Hirschboeck served as Dean until 1965.
  • (September 1947)  The Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin is founded.

1951   

  • (December 6, 1951)  Kurtis Froedtert, owner of the Froedtert Malt and Grain Company, dies.  He leaves an estimated $9-11 million to create a new Lutheran hospital that will support medical education and research.  His estate is managed by the Lutheran Brotherhood, which is concerned about a possible relationship between a Lutheran hospital and Catholic medical school.  The issue isn’t resolved until the medical school is independent from Marquette University.  In the meantime, the Froedtert estate is invested to create the Froedtert Mayfair Mall, the Milwaukee-area’s first shopping center.

1952   

  • Medical school Dean Dr. John Hirschboeck unveils plans for an ambitious venture:  the University Medical Center of Milwaukee; a precursor to today’s Milwaukee Regional Medical Center.
  • The Committee for the Survey of Medical Education places Marquette University School of Medicine on “confidential probation” for two years because of inadequate financial resources, and because the medical school lacks full-time faculty members.

1953   

  • The medical school begins borrowing money from Marquette University to meet annual operating deficits which ranged as high as $416,829.       

1960   

  • The cost of funding full-time faculty members, as required by the national accrediting body, contributes to the medical school’s financial difficulties.  The accumulated debt for the Marquette University School of Medicine is $1.2 million.
  • Milwaukee County Executive John Doyne and Greater Milwaukee Committee members Edmund Fitzgerald and Rudolph Schoenecker begin discussions on the development of an academic medical center in Milwaukee.  At the time, Milwaukee was one of the nation’s only major cities lacking an academic medical center.

1961   

  • The medical school’s Allen-Bradley Animal Research Laboratory is opened on the Milwaukee County Grounds.

1962   

  • The medical school establishes a Clinical Research Center at Milwaukee County General Hospital through a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

1964   

  • Medical school Dean Dr. John S. Hirschboeck warns Marquette University officials that the medical school is fast approaching bankruptcy.
  • The Patrick & Margaret McMahon Professorship in Obstetrics and Gynecology is established as the medical school’s first endowed chair.

1965   

  • (September 1965)  Gerald A. Kerrigan, MD, is appointed Dean, after having served for six months as Acting Dean.  He continued as Dean until 1977.

1967   

  • (January 14, 1967)  The “Heil Report,” led by civic leader Joseph Heil and commissioned by the Greater Milwaukee Committee, determines that it is vital for Milwaukee’s future growth and for the health of its citizenry to develop an academic medical center.  The plan is released on the 54th anniversary of the creation of the Marquette University School of Medicine.
  • Marquette University appeals to the State of Wisconsin for financial aid to help fund medical school operations.  The request is denied because of Marquette’s status as a religious institution.
  • (September 30, 1967)  The high cost of maintaining a medical school forces Marquette University to sever all ties with its medical school in the face of a $1.3 million deficit. 
  • The medical school continues as a private, freestanding institution.  It is renamed the Marquette School of Medicine (dropping the word “University.”)  The medical school’s endowment is liquidated to repay $3 million owed to Marquette University. 
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court rules that the State of Wisconsin can provide financial aid to the medical school now that it is not affiliated with a religious institution.  A state increase in the tax on beer will provide the needed $1.3 million in state support for the medical school.  Wisconsin’s first tax on beer since the 1930s is increased from $1 a barrel to $2 a barrel.
  • Louis Quarles is elected President by the medical school’s board.  He will serve as President until his death in 1972.  The medical school sells the Cramer Building to Marquette University, and then leases it back until new facilities can be constructed.

1968   

  • (November 1968)  The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Medical Center is incorporated.  The goal is to link public and private health institutions for the advancement of community health resources in education, patient care, and research.  The original member organizations are:  Marquette School of Medicine, Milwaukee County General Hospital, Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex, Veterans Administration Hospital, the Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee Children’s Hospital, and Milwaukee Psychiatric Hospital.
  • (December 1968)  The alumni association changes its name to the Marquette Medical Alumni Association.

1969   

  • The freestanding medical school’s solvency is in question.  The medical school lacks funds to meet its payroll.  The Greater Milwaukee Committee launches a Citizen’s Committee to Save the Marquette Medical School.  The emergency fund drive raises more than $1 million in a three-month period.  For the first time in years, the medical school has a balanced budget.
  • (October 31, 1969)  Wisconsin Governor Warren P. Knowles signs the medical school appropriation bill.

1970   

  • (February 1970)  Governor Knowles presents the medical school with a check for $1 million, representing the first funding from the medical school appropriation bill.
  • (October 14, 1970)  The medical school’s Board of Directors renames the institution as the Medical College of Wisconsin to reflect its new direction to serve the entire state.  Medical students, concerned that the name will be confused with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, protest the name change by hanging signs and banners across Wisconsin Avenue near the Marquette campus.  Signs read, “15th Street Medical School” and a banner displays two cows holding a shield atop a beer keg.  On the shield, the letters MCOW are superimposed over a map of Wisconsin.
  • Biomedical graduate degree programs are shifted from Marquette University to the Medical College of Wisconsin.

1972   

  • Four years after the first successful hematopoietic cell transplantation, Dr. Mortimer Bortin led the creation of the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry, a world-wide scientific collaboration affiliated with the Medical College of Wisconsin.  At the time, there were only about 12 bone marrow transplant centers worldwide and fewer than 50 patients per year worldwide receiving a transplant.  The registry is located at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Milwaukee.

1973   

  • The Milwaukee County Paramedic Program is created through a federal grant to the Medical College of Wisconsin.

1974   

  • Most Milwaukee-area hospitals providing residency training join to create the Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals (MCWAH).

1975   

  • (February 1975)  David Carley is named President of the Medical College of Wisconsin.  He is the Medical College’s first full-time President and will serve until 1977.
  • A major fundraising campaign called Project MERIT is launched to build a new home for the Medical College on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus.  The $40 million building will require $17.6 million in private donations; the largest fundraising campaign ever launched in Milwaukee.
  • The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Eye Institute is opened on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus adjacent to Milwaukee County General Hospital.

1976   

  • Civic and state leaders take part in groundbreaking ceremonies for the Medical College’s new facilities on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus.
  • (December 10, 1976)  The Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC Fund) is created on the night recognizing the retirement of its founder, Milwaukee Bucks basketball player Jon McGlocklin.  The Medical College of Wisconsin’s pediatric cancer research programs will become the major recipient of the organization’s fundraising activities.
  • The Medical College’s Biomedical Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Center is named a federally-designed center by the National Institutes of Health.

1977   

  • (September 14, 1977)  Groundbreaking ceremonies are held for Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus.  As identified in Kurtis Froedtert’s will, the hospital will be a teaching affiliate of the Medical College.
  • Leonard W. Cronkhite, MD, is named President, a position he will hold until 1984.
  • Medical school tuition is $4,150 annually. 

1978   

  • (July 1978)  Edward J. Lennon, MD, is appointed Dean, after serving for six months as Acting Dean.  He will continue as Dean until 1985 when he is named President of the Medical College of Wisconsin.
  • The Medical College of Wisconsin relocates to its new $42 million facilities on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus.  Some classes are held in tents as construction is completed in the fall of 1978.

1980   

  • (September 29, 1980)  Dedication ceremonies are held for Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus.  The private adult hospital is connected to the public Milwaukee County General Hospital.  Instead of duplicating programs, clinical services are divided between the two hospitals.

1980   

  • Milwaukee County General Hospital is renamed as Milwaukee County Medical Complex.
  • (Date approximate)  The International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry relocates to the Medical College campus from Mt. Sinai Hospital.

1982   

  • The Medical Scientist Training Program is created enabling students to qualify for both an MD and PhD degrees.

1983   

  • Medical College of Wisconsin surgeons perform Wisconsin’s first liver transplant at Froedtert Hospital.

1984   

  • (January 1984)  Flight for Life, the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center’s air ambulance program, is created.  Its operation’s base is at Froedtert Hospital.

1985   

  • Edward J. Lennon, MD, is promoted to President and CEO, a position he will hold until 1989.
  • Richard A. Cooper, MD, is appointed Dean, a position he will hold until 1995.
  • Milwaukee Children’s Hospital changes its name to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, reflecting that hospital’s mission to serve children throughout the state.
  • Medical school tuition for Wisconsin residents is $7,500 annually; tuition for non-residents is $15,000 annually.

1986   

  • (April 26, 1986)  A catastrophic nuclear accident occurs at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.  Soviet officials say that the only way American doctors can help treat radiation victims are if they are represented by an international body.  American doctors, represented by the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry, provide the needed care.  News media outlets worldwide receive information on the disaster victims through the Medical College of Wisconsin.

1988   

  • Dedication ceremonies are held for the Medical College’s $18 million MACC Fund Research Center, adjacent to the medical school’s facilities. 
  • (October 1988)  Dedication ceremonies are held for Milwaukee County Medical Complex’s new $18.5 million outpatient care facilities called the Bridge Building.  The building is later named the Specialty Clinics building when Froedtert Hospital purchases the assets of the county hospital.
  • (December 19, 1988)  Dedication ceremonies are held for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin as it relocates to new $42 million facilities on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus.

1989   

  • The alumni association’s name is changed to the Medical College of Wisconsin / Marquette Medical Alumni Association.

1990   

  • (September 12, 1990)  T. Michael Bolger, JD, is inaugurated as President and CEO; he was named to the position in July 1990.  Mr. Bolger would continue to serve as President and CEO until 2010.

1991   

  • (April 18, 1991)  The Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin dedicates its new Blood Research Institute, located next to the Medical College.
  • The Council on Education for Public Health provides full accreditation for the Medical College’s Master of Public Health (MPH) program.

1994   

  • The National Institute of Mental Health names the Medical College a federally designated Center for AIDS Intervention Research.

1995   

  • (January 1995)  The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is established providing oversight of the Medical College’s non-MD graduate degree programs.  William L. Hendee, Ph,D., is named as the first Dean of the graduate school, a position he would hold until 2006.
  • Dr. Michael J. Dunn, a 1962 alumnus of the Medical College, is named Dean, a position he will hold until 2008.
  • (December 1995)  Milwaukee County closes John L. Doyne Hospital (the former Milwaukee County Medical Complex).  Froedtert Hospital purchases the hospital’s assets from Milwaukee County and becomes a full-service hospital.

1996   

  • (May 10, 1996)  The Medical College’s alumni association opens its membership to non-MD alumni of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

1999   

  • (April 22, 1999)  Dedication ceremonies are held for the Medical College’s $36 million Health Research Center, a five-story structure that will serve as the Medical College’s new front door.
  • (June 3, 1999)  Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin announces that it will be converting from a non-profit organization to a proprietary firm.  The company announces that as part of the conversion process, it will donate the company’s assets equally between the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine.  The donated funds are to be used to improve the quality of health for the citizens of Wisconsin.

2000   

  • (March 28, 2000)  The Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance approves the proposal from Blue Cross and Blue Shield United of Wisconsin to convert to a for-profit company and donate the company’s assets equally between the Medical College and UW School of Medicine.
  • (August 24, 2000)  Consumer groups in Wisconsin file a petition for judicial review in state court to challenge the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance’s decision to approve the Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin conversion plan.  A trial judge hears the case and upholds the Commissioner’s decision.

2001   

  • (December 6, 2001)  The Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirms the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance’s ruling on the Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin plan, thus upholding the trial judge’s decision.  The conversion plan could proceed.

2002   

  • (February 11, 2002)  President George W. Bush delivers his first presidential speech on health care at the Medical College.
  • The Wisconsin Injury Research Center, established in 1998, is named a federally designed Injury Research Center by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awards federal designation to the Medical College’s Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network center.

2004   

  • (March 2004)  The Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin conversion is completed.  The proceeds from the company’s sale are distributed to both the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine; both receive approximately $300 million to be used to improve the health of Wisconsin residents.  Proceeds are used to create the Medical College’s “Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin” program and strengthen the College’s mission of community engagement.
  • (July 1, 2004)  The Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research is created through the merger of the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry and the National Marrow Donor Program.

2005   

  • The world’s first patient to survive full-fledged rabies is treated by Medical College physicians at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  The Milwaukee Protocol becomes the worldwide standard for rabies treatment.
  • Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin open Sargeant Health Center, an outpatient surgery and primary care clinic located on campus on the site of Sargeant Hall, a campus facility that served as the dormitory for resident physicians at Milwaukee County General Hospital.

2007   

  • (January 16, 2007)  Dedication ceremonies are held for the Medical College’s Translational and Biomedical Research Center and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Children’s Research Institute. 

2008   

  • (May 2008)  Jonathan R. Ravdin, MD, is named Dean, a position he will hold until 2011.
  • (May 2008)  Dedication ceremonies are held for the $95 million Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center.

2009   

  • The Wisconsin Center of Excellence in Genomics Science at the Medical College is named a federally designated center by the National Human Genome Research Institute.  It is a collaborative effort with the University of Wisconsin Madison and Marquette University.

2010   

  • Medical College researchers and physicians at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin are the first in the world to use DNA sequencing to diagnose and successfully treat a child with an unknown life-threatening condition.
  • (May 2010) Ravi Misra, PhD, is named Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
  • (July 14, 2010)  The National Institutes of Health announces that the Medical College will receive a $20 million Clinical and Translational Science Award as part of the federal government’s program to establish select translational research centers nationwide. 
  • (October 21, 2010)  John R. Raymond, Sr., MD, is inaugurated as President and CEO.  He began serving as President in July 2010.

2011   

  • (November 11, 2011)  Joseph E. Kerschner, MD, is named Dean of the Medical School and Executive Vice President of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

2012   

  • The Discovery Curriculum is introduced to the class matriculating in the fall of 2012.  This is the first major revision of the medical school’s curriculum in decades.
  • (February 15, 2012) Joseph E. Kerschner, MD, was installed as the 10th Dean of the Medical School and Executive Vice President of the Medical College of Wisconsin.
  • (June 25, 2012)  The Medical College’s Board of Trustees authorizes the Medical College to develop community-based medical education programs in both the Green Bay area and Central Wisconsin.  The programs will be developed in collaboration with local academic institutions and health systems.  The Medical College is developing the new programs to address Wisconsin’s pending physician shortage.

2013   

  • (May 10, 2013)  Groundbreaking ceremonies are held for St. Norbert College’s $40 million Gehl-Mulva Science Center, which will also house components of the Medical College’s community-based medical education program in the Green Bay area.

 

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