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United in Purpose

United in Purpose: 150 Years of Medicine and Nursing at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine opened in the fall of 1874 as a shared program with the University of Nashville’s existing medical department, located in downtown Nashville. Those 1875 graduates who chose to receive Vanderbilt’s diploma had the distinction of joining its first graduating class. The valedictorian of that class, Dr. William Campbell, gave a speech praising medicine as a noble profession based in scientific advancement. He described his fellow classmates, graduates of a grand institution predicted to survive the years, as animated by sense of duty such that, “though separated in person, we are united in purpose.”

Over the past 150 years, that purpose has evolved and adapted with the times. It has grown to include the School of Nursing, Vanderbilt’s staff, its allied health programs, and the rest of the Medical Center. This exhibit explores that history in pictures and artifacts.

Visit the exhibit on the first floor of the Eskind Biomedical Library at 2209 Garland Ave, Nashville, TN 37240 or online.

[Vanderbilt Medical School ticket]
Vanderbilt University Archives History of Medicine Collections
Dr. Levi Watkins
Vanderbilt University Archives History of Medicine Collections Photographic Archive