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Celebrating 100 years:  Marquette University School of Medicine and the Medical College of Wisconsin

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Marquette University School of Medicine (MUSM), the Medical College of Wisconsin is running a series of stories and hosting various events the week of Jan. 14-18 to commemorate this important milestone in MCW’s history. The Marquette University School of Medicine was formed on Jan. 14, 1913, and, in 1970, became the Medical College of Wisconsin.

All stories and photos can be found on the College’s Website.

Jan. 14, 2013 College News - One hundred years ago, on Jan. 14, 1913, a major milestone occurred in the history of medicine in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.  On that day, the Marquette University School of Medicine was founded through the merger of the Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons, MCW’s founding institution, and the Medical Department of Marquette University / Milwaukee Medical College. 

For the next 54 years, Marquette significantly advanced medical education and the state of medicine in Wisconsin, and laid the foundation for what was to become the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Marquette entered the picture at a time of tremendous challenges in medical education, both in Wisconsin and the nation. In 1910, the Association of American Medical Colleges commissioned a review of all U.S. medical schools because of concerns regarding quality and lack of standardization. The landmark Flexner Report provided the first standards for medical education in the U.S.  As a result, medical schools across the country were reorganized to improve the quality of medical education.

The Flexner Report led to periodic inspections of medical schools by the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association.  In 1912, both the Milwaukee-based Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Milwaukee Medical College were notified that their ratings would be downgraded to “Class C,” alarming many.  The Council on Medical Education recommended that the two schools be merged. 

Marquette had formed an affiliation a few years earlier with the Milwaukee Medical College, in which the Milwaukee Medical College remained an independent, freestanding institution with its own board, but also became the Medical Department of Marquette University.  In 1913, at the urging of physician leaders in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Medical Department of Marquette University / Milwaukee Medical College were merged to create the Marquette University School of Medicine. 

The new medical school gained community support and flourished under Marquette’s commitment to providing high-quality medical education. By 1915, Marquette’s medical school received an “A” rating, the highest level of excellence in the nation. 

From 1913 to 1967, the Marquette University School of Medicine earned a reputation for preparing outstanding clinicians. Partnerships were formed with almost every Milwaukee area hospital as clinical training sites for the medical students. As envisioned by Wisconsin’s early leaders, the medical school became the center of the health care delivery system.  During this time, approximately 3,880 physicians graduated from Marquette’s medical school.

By 1967, the medical school was facing ongoing financial difficulties and on September 30, 1967, Marquette University terminated its sponsorship of the medical school.  A corporate reorganization then established the medical school as a private, freestanding institution.  Although it struggled initially, the medical school – renamed the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1970 – has grown into an education, research and clinical powerhouse.

“We are grateful to Marquette for establishing the tradition of excellence in medical education that we continue at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Our shared heritage lives on in our many collaborations with Marquette today,” said John R. Raymond, Sr., MD, President and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin. 

Pictured is the front entrance to the Marquette University School of Medicine, the predecessor to the Medical College of Wisconsin. 

 

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Page Updated 07/23/2013