Indiana's Senator James Watson told me when I was 11 years old that I could grow up to be president of the United States because my father was an immigrant and I was born here. But nobody ever told me I could be dean of a medical school. So I was amazed and honored when Dr Norman Topping, president of the University of Southern California, offered me that position in 1964.
I was from the other side of the tracks. I had gone up the clinical ladder, from clinical instructor of medicine to clinical professor, but had never been part of academia. I was going to have to learn, on the job, the delicate difference between administering to a medical faculty's needs and a similar responsibility in a large teaching hospital. I found that generically there was none. But the students were a surprise. I found school-oriented activists urging changes
Egeberg RO. Happenings at a Medical School in the Late Sixties. JAMA. 1989;261(2):275–277. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420020129044
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