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May 5, 2004

The Department of Surgery at the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa

Arch Surg. 2004;139(5):466-468. doi:10.1001/archsurg.139.5.466

The School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh began as the Western Pennsylvania Medical College and graduated its first class of physicians in 1887. In the 1890s, the medical college became affiliated with the Western University of Pennsylvania, which had originated as the Pittsburgh Academy in 1787. Thus, the roots of the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh (hereafter called University of Pittsburgh) make it one of the nation's oldest academic institutions. The Western University of Pennsylvania was renamed the University of Pittsburgh in 1908. Most of the clinical teaching in the first half of the 20th century was provided by volunteer or part-time faculty. However, by the end of World War II active planning for a major change was initiated with the encouragement and assistance of the Mellon family. The university accepted the concept of a university health center at this time, and in 1953 appointed the first vice chancellor for the schools of the health professions. The concept included the recruitment of a full-time teaching faculty for all of the departments. The new building to house the faculty and the medical school, Scaife Hall, was completed in 1956, which began the modern era for the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. In 1967, the school began to receive some financial support from the state and, as a result, became state related and part of the higher education system of Pennsylvania.