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The School and its Heritage

Temple University was founded in 1884 by the Rev. Russell H. Conwell, clergyman, educator, and author of the famed oration, "Acres of Diamonds." It was Pastor Conwell's purpose to make quality education available to all intellectually capable people, regardless of ability to pay. This has remained one of Temple's major goals over the years.

Temple University School of Medicine opened its doors to students on September 16, 1901. The first coeducational medical college in Pennsylvania, it began as a night and weekend teaching venture to accommodate working-class citizens who sought to improve their lives--and the lives of others--through medical education. Classes were held initially in College Hall, next to Conwell's Baptist Temple Church, and clinical instruction was given at the Samaritan Hospital farther north on Broad Street. The original medical school faculty numbered 20 with 35 students enrolled during the first year. Tuition for those first students was $635 for the five-year program.  In 1904, two men who had entered with advanced standing, Frederick C. Lehman and Frank E. Watkins, became its first graduates. Two years later two women - Sara Allen and Mary E. Shepard - completed the full course and were among 14 who received MD degrees. Two years later, the School graduated its first African American woman, Agnes Berry Montier, who practiced general medicine in Philadelphia until her death in 1961.

In 1907, to meet medical licensure requirements, the “night school” was discontinued and a solely day program instituted. During that year, the medical school joined the Dental and Pharmacy schools in buildings located at 18th and Buttonwood Streets. The Flexner Report of 1910, a critical survey of American medical schools, described Temple as “embryonic.” But despite its tiny beginnings, the school has grown and remained productive through a century. In 1929, Samaritan Hospital was renamed Temple University Hospital and ground broken for a new medical school building across Broad Street that opened in the following year. Dr. William N. Parkinson, a 1911 graduate, became Dean and served admirably in that position for thirty years. With the opening of the 1930 building, each medical class was increased to 100 students.

Temple Medical School formed its first formal affiliation in 1928 with the Jewish Hospital of Philadelphia, now Albert Einstein Medical Center. This and subsequent hospital and scientific ties opened doors for more variety of instruction and investigation. Innovative faculty members brought luster by their teaching and practice, with national and international recognition. Research activities increased in the expanding medical orbit.

An Act of the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1965 designated Temple University a state-related institution in the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. Temple University School of Medicine, now a component of Temple University Health Sciences Center, has about 450 full-time faculty, 1,500 volunteer faculty and 200 students in each medical class. Over 10,000 living medical graduates are practicing in the fifty states and other parts of the world.


Today, Temple University School of Medicine is widely recognized as an intitution that offers an exceptional clinical education to a diverse and socially-conscious student body.  According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, Temple University School of Medicine ranks fifth in the nation in African American medical school graduates from 1958 to 2004, behind two historically black institutions (Howard University and Meharry Medical College) and two other public institutions (University of Illinois and Wayne State University).  The ultramodern Temple University Hospital serves heroically the health care needs of many people. Multiple affiliated institutions remain strong and active to enhance teaching, service and research.



Temple Pioneers


W. Wayne Babcock, MD (1872 - 1963), surgical innovator, educator, and author, became Chair of Surgery at Temple in 1903 and taught here for 45 years.  He earned worldwide recognition for pioneering the usage of spinal anesthesia and stainless steel sutures; for developing the abdominoperipheral proctosigmoidectomy and other procedures; and for inventing such surgical instruments at Babcock's viscera forceps and Babcock's sump drain and lamp chimney sump drain.  Babcock's Principles and Practice of Surgery remained the authoritative text in surgery through the 1950s.


Catherine L. Bacon was an expert in psychosomatic medicine. Her writings included a book about direct analysis in the treatment of mental disorders.


Harry E. Bacon graduated from Temple in 1925, and was the first editor of the SKULL yearbook. Head of Division of Colorectal Surgery, his contributions to control of cancer and related problems gained him global recognition.


M. Prince Brigham, MD (1923 - 1980), a native of Alabama, came to Temple Medical School from Florida as a student in 1946.  An honors graduate four years later, he served an internship and surgical residency at Temple University Hospital.  Except for Army medical service in France and a year at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, his entire professional career was devoted to his medical alma mater.  A member of the Department of Surgery for 22 years, Dr. Brigham also was Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs from 1973 and Acting Dean of the School of Medicine in 1979.  In these varied roles, he contributed greatly to Temple's academic excellence.


W. Emory Burnett, an outstanding worker in thoracic and vascular surgery, performed the first human pneumonectomy in Philadelphia (1938).


W. Edward Chamberlain was a radiologist who developed contrast and cine radiological techniques with Temple associates. Their image intensifier in fluoroscopy made possible movie films, television viewing and three-dimensional effects in x-ray diagnosis.


Agnes Barr Chase, a School of Medicine alumna of the Class of 1909, was also an accomplished artist and illustrator. A graduate of Moore College of Art and Design, she collaborated with her husband, Dr. Theodore L. Chase, in compiling an atlas of surgery. After her death, her husband endowed a surgical research foundation at Temple "in loving and everlasting appreciation".


The consummate diagnostician, Thomas Durant, MD (1905 - 1977), joined the Temple faculty in 1936 and served as Chair of Medicine from 1956 to 1966.  With his methodical approach to history and physical exam, he culled findings at the bedside that would later be confirmed through laboratory analysis -- enthralling students, residents and colleagues alike.  He also made notable contributions in electrocardiography, contrast visualizaiton, and the dynamics of circulation and respiration.  Dr. Durant held many high-level posts with professional associations during his career.  He was Chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine and President of the American Federation for Clinical Research and the American College of Physicians.


O. Spurgeon English was a renowned psychiatrist who, with Dr. Edward Weiss at Temple, wrote a signal volume on psychosomatic medicine. A distinguished teacher and psychotherapist, he established clinics in child, adult and family mental health.


Matthew S. Ersner, a medical alumnus (1912), was the long-time Chair of Temple's Department of Otorhinology. A devoted teacher and skillful surgeon, he trained numerous specialists who continued his work.


Temple S. Fay was a neurosurgeon who introduced the use of hypothermia in medical and surgical illnesses. He also developed rehabilitation procedures based upon analysis of phylogenetic movements.


Harriet L. Hartley was a Professor of Hygiene and Public Health for 20 years (1924-44). She made major contributions to maternal and child health and environmental sanitation.


John Franklin Huber was an eminent anatomist, friend and guide to medical students. He was distinguished for his delineation of the bronchopulmonary segments, the result of research conducted with Chevalier L. Jackson and Charles M. Norris, and for his pioneering use of audiovisual techniques in teaching.


Chevalier Jackson devoted his long professional life to devising new and life-saving devices and procedures in laryngology and bronchoesophagology. With his son, Dr. Chevalier L. Jackson, and their co-worker, Dr. Charles M. Norris, he instituted the well-known graduate course conducted at Temple University Hospital which attracts physicians from all parts of the world for instruction in various aspects of the air and food passages.


Richard A. Kern was a pioneer allergist, medical leader and statesman. An expert in military and tropical medicine, he served as Chair of the Department of Medicine, and was a Trustee of Temple University and President of the American College of Physicians.


John A. Kolmer, a national leader in preventive medicine and public health, achieved wide recognition by his research in immunology, serodiagnosis and chemotherapy.


Leroy W. Krumperman, a medical alumnus (1944), was the Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology from 1950-75. Recognized for skill in regional anesthesia, he was the first Chief of Temple University Hospital's Pain Control Clinic.


Frank H. Krusen originated the field of physical medicine, establishing the first such department in this country at Temple University Hospital (1929). He moved to the Mayo Clinic in 1935 and later returned to Temple, whose rehabilitation center bears his name.


Beloved for her devotion to students and love of teaching, Dawn B. Marks, PhD (1937 - 2000) joined the Department of Biochemistry faculty at Temple in 1968.  She also served as Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies from 1984 to 1998.  Dr. Marks developed innovative teaching techniques in biochemistry and molecular biology, always grounding concepts in practical applications in clinical medicine.  Her text, Review of Biochemistry (1990), has been translated into five languages and became the basis for a USMLE biochemistry board review book universally referenced by medical students preparing for the boards.  She also wrote Basic Medical Biochemistry: A Clinical Approach (1996), and developed computer-based teaching programs.  She was honored with numerous teaching awards throughout her career.


John Royal Moore, orthopedic surgeon, originated a technique of delayed reduction of fractures and gained wide recognition as both a practitioner and a teacher.


A giant in the field of pediatrics, Waldo E. Nelson, MD (1898 - 1997), came to Temple in 1940 and chaired the Department of Pediatrics for 24 years.  He also served as Director of Philadelphia's St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, bringing it to prominence as a regional referral center.  In addition to developing renown in fields of tuberculosis and juvenile diabetes and contributing to the then-neglected field of convalescent care for children, Dr. Nelson gained worldwide fame as the longtime editor of the "green bible", the Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, which was published through numerous editions and translated into dozens of languages.


William N. Parkinson, MD (1896 - 1971), a graduate of the School of Medicine's Class of 1911, devoted most of his distinguished career to his alma mater.  He served as Associate Dean at Temple from 1921 to 1924, left to continue his studies, then returned in 1929 as Medical Director and Dean -- a post he held for 30 years.  In the Conwellian tradition, Dr. Parkinson was known for making medical education accessible to talented students from all backgrounds and for recruiting faculty of national and international renown.  Deeply involved in all aspects of the school's life, it often seemed he ran the operation single-handedly, managing strategic decisions and minute details.


Victor Robinson was a pioneer medical historian, author, editor and teacher of international stature.


Hugo Roesler was a Vienna-trained cardiologist/electrocardiographer and author of one of the earliest books on cardiovascular imaging (1937).


Machteld Elisabeth Sano was a Belgian-trained clinical pathologist known for her research on tissue culture and use of fibrin glue for skin grafting.


A pioneer in the field of thrombosis, Sol Sherry, MD (1916 - 1993) served as Chair of Medicine at Temple from 1968 to 1984, founded the Thrombosis Research Center which now bears his name, and was Dean of the School of Medicine from 1984 to 1986.  Dr. Sherry revolutionized the treatment of acute MI through his pioneering work in thrombolytic therapy and trained many of today's leaders in the field of thrombosis and hemostasis. Dr. Sherry founded the Council on Thrombosis of the American Heart Association and the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.


Ernest A. Spiegel was a neurologist who, together with Dr. Henry T. Wycis and others, devised stereoencephalotomy with stereotactic procedures for control of pain, tremor, and convulsive disorders.


Shirley M. Tilghman was an alumna and a faculty member in molecular biology. She was a scientist at the Fox Chase Cancer Center and the NIH, became a Professor at Princeton and, in 2001, its first woman President.


Sidney Weinhouse headed the Fels Research Institute of Temple University and edited Cancer Research. Noted for investigations of biochemical mechanisms and properties of cancer cells, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.


Joseph Wolpe was a Professor of Psychiatry and the ‘father’ of behavioral modification therapy.