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The Period of Survival

The years 1865 to 1913 were termed by Kenneth Lynch (former President of the Medical College, 1949-60) the "period of survival." The conditions of the College both financially and otherwise were quite challenging. Somehow, despite numerous obstacles, the College endured.

Once again, the faculty and physicians of Charleston somehow managed to save the patient...in this case the College. This time, the College had over nine deans, some surviving less than one year. 

The long-term prewar dean and one of the founders of the College, Dr. Henry Frost relinquished the deanship in 1866 to Dr. J. Julian Chisolm, an exceptional surgeon who kept it for only one year before stepping down in order to seek a better economic and professional climate in Baltimore.

More on Dr J. Julian Chisolm

The institution as a whole was in a sorry state of affairs at the turn of the twentieth century. This condition was well documented by Abraham Flexner on behalf of the Carnegie Foundation in a famous study of medical education. Flexner visited all 167 medical schools operating in the United States and Canada and reviewed each of them. He concluded that not only did too many schools exist, but more importantly, the quality of most of the schools was substandard.

Unfortunately, MUSC was no exception. In his report, Flexner noted that we had "very meager" equipment, no library "except for antiquated publications," and no full-time faculty members. Flexner's assessment was substantiated by the "C" rating assigned to us in the first survey of medical schools for accreditation in 1910.

The silver lining in the clouds of these critical reports was the attention focused on the need to improve medical education in the state. These enhancements required resources beyond those that could be raised through student tuition. 

As a result, the State of South Carolina assumed responsibility for the school in 1913, and, almost immediately, the accreditation rating improved. The following year, the school moved to its present location.

For more information about the history of MUSC, contact the Waring Historical Library.

Medical College Deans from 1866 to 1943

J. Julian Chisolm

Francis Marion Robertson

George Edward Trescot

Robert Alexander Kinloch

John Philip Chazal

Jacob Ford Prioleau

Francis LeJau Parker

Edward Frost Parker 

Allard Memminger

Robert Wilson


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