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History and Tradition: 150 Years of Medicine at Iowa

Arial photo of the Carver College of Medicine Campus

 

Over the past century and a half, the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine has earned its standing among the most esteemed medical schools in the nation. With its founding on the University of Iowa campus in 1870, the medical college’s first class consisted of 37 students, which included eight women—giving Iowa the distinction as the first coeducational medical school in the United States. The college’s eight faculty members included dean and surgery professor Washington Freeman Peck, who, beginning in the late 1860s, worked with the state’s medical, business, and political leaders to establish a medical college in Iowa City. For the previous two decades, the Keokuk College of Physicians and Surgeons, located nearly 100 miles away, was recognized by the state legislature as the official medical department of the State University of Iowa.

By 1928, with the completion of a seven-story hospital following the opening of children’s and psychiatric hospitals a decade earlier, and the Medical Laboratories building in 1927, a burgeoning medical campus was firmly established west of the Iowa River and the university’s main facilities. The medical college has seen continual growth and expansion since then. Today, it serves as the centerpiece of a university health sciences center that includes colleges of dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and public health as well as UI Hospitals & Clinics and the nearby Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

In 2002, the college began a new era as the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine in recognition of the Carver family’s gift commitments of more than $90 million in philanthropic support.

As reflected in its longstanding commitment to education, research, and clinical care, the Carver College of Medicine today is considered a leader in academic medicine—teaching future health care professionals; leading basic science and clinical studies that lead to greater understanding of human health and disease; and providing treatments that improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

37
MD students in the class of 1870
8
Women in the class of 1870
23K
Alumni of Carver College of Medicine programs
50%
Iowa’s physicians educated/trained at the UI

The Carver College of Medicine Today

Through its commitment to education, research, and clinical care, the Carver College of Medicine is recognized as a leader in academic medicine—teaching future health care professionals; leading basic science and clinical studies that lead to greater understanding of human health and disease; and providing treatments and therapies that improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities.