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Campus Currents

May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2
   

STORIES FROM UCSD

40 Years of UCSD Medicine

Is there a doctor in the house? With the celebration of its 40th anniversary, UC San Diego School of Medicine can now answer with a resounding “Yes, 3,900!”

In celebration, the school toasted the 44 members of the charter class of ’68, and the 3,856 who have since graduated, at a gala event on November 14, 2008. Several of the school’s “founding fathers and mothers” gave interviews about those early days and they reveal much about the very special nature of this med school on the mesa.


“Our success also had to do with how very good those initial students were,” recalled William Nyhan, chief, Division of Biochemical Genetics, and founding chairman, Department of Pediatrics. “They were number one in the country in the national boards and really fun to teach.”

Doris Howell, professor of Pediatrics, former chair, Depart­ment of Community and Family Medicine, remembered her students with a smile. “California students were very different than anything I had ever seen. It was the ’70s—blue jeans, sandals, longer hair, and surfing. Still, the students were very smart, very challenging.”

Theodore Friedmann, professor of Pediatrics; director, Gene Therapy Program and Whitehill Chair of Biomedical Ethics, said he’d never before heard of anything like the plan for the new medical school at UC San Diego. “The idea of this sort of free interchange and back and forth flowing of information between people with disparate interests … didn’t exist anywhere else in the country,” said Friedmann.

“When I first came here, one of the people who interviewed me was the very man who discovered carbon 14 [the late Martin D. Kamen, former chair of the Chemistry Department],” said Daniel Steinberg, professor emeritus. “I was impressed. That kind of thing played a role in getting recruits to come to a place that not only had
sun and surf, but also these great minds.”

Lewis Judd, Mary Gilman Marston Professor and chair, Department of Psychiatry, recalled the pure pleasure of being part of this adventure from the beginning. “To share in the sense of excellence, the excitement of taking on a new experiment in medicine … that’s very gratifying.”

For more information on anniversary events visit: somanniversary.ucsd.edu


—Kim Edwards


 

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“California students were very different than anything I had ever seen. It was the ’70s—blue jeans, sandals, longer hair, and surfing. Still, the students were very smart, very challenging.”