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September 1972

Wilburt Cornell Davison: He Built a Medical School of Stone—and Left It Marble

Author Affiliations

Durham, NC
From the Department of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Am J Dis Child. 1972;124(3):336-339. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1972.02110150034003

Dr. Wilburt C. Davison, first Dean and Pediatric Chairman of the Duke University School of Medicine, was once described by Sir William Osler as "a new American colt who is wrecking a medical school tradition." Since that memorable day at Oxford University in 1913 and until his retirement in 1960, Dean Davison continued to wreck traditions.

Dr. Davison came to Duke in 1927 when both the hospital and medical school were still only in the idea stage. He shouldered the responsibility of planning, organizing, and directing the medical school and hospital literally from the ground up. As construction progressed he was never without his tape measure or yardstick and on occasion would don overalls and join the labor crew to give a hand as well as direct.

Dean Davison realized from the outset that an efficient faculty would have to be more than a collection of brilliant individuals who might

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