Today each medical student at UVA is assigned to one of four colleges within the School of Medicine: Dunglison College, Hunter College, Pinn College, and Reed College, but this system is a relatively new practice at UVA. Of the 123 students who attended the first session of the University of Virginia in 1825, 26 registered for courses in medicine and anatomy. Over the last nearly 200 years, medical education at UVA has steadily expanded, and, in 2016, there were 621 medical students enrolled in the UVA School of Medicine. In addition to increased class size, other 21st century changes to the medical school have included the opening of the new Claude Moore Medical Education Building and the debut of a revised medical curriculum. In response to these expansions, and in order to preserve close student-faculty relationships, four colleges were created within the UVA School of Medicine. The four college system was launched in 2010, each college with its own Dean for Student Affairs responsible for providing support and mentorship to his or her college’s students.
Four distinguished physicians associated with the history of the School of Medicine were selected to represent the four colleges, each serving as that college’s namesake. These namesakes consist of two UVA faculty members and two School of Medicine alumni: pioneering educators and celebrated trailblazers. The four individuals chosen were: Robley Dunglison (1798-1869), the first professor of medicine at UVA and personal physician to Thomas Jefferson; Thomas Harrison Hunter (1913-1997), Dean of the School of Medicine from 1953-1965 and longtime medical educator and leader at UVA; Vivian Winona Pinn (1941- ), 1967 graduate of the UVA School of Medicine and first Director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health; and Walter Reed (1851-1902), 1869 graduate of the UVA School of Medicine famous for his role in discovering the vector for yellow fever.
To learn more about the individuals behind the names of the four colleges of the School of Medicine, stop by the lobby of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, where an exhibit featuring these namesakes is currently on display. The exhibit includes photographs and artifacts from the Library’s collections and will remain up until June 2017. The exhibit was created by Emily Bowden of Historical Collections & Services.