Happy Birthday, Schools of Medicine and Nursing

This year marks two big birthdays on the MCV Campus: The School of Medicine turns 180 years old and the School of Nursing turns 125.

School of Medicine

In November of 1838, the medical department at Hampden-Sydney College opened in Richmond, and by 1844, the department had moved into the building that today stands as one of VCU Health’s and VCU’s most iconic structures, the Egyptian Building. Ten years later, the department received an independent charter from the Virginia General Assembly to become the Medical College of Virginia. Since then, the institution that is now VCU School of Medicine has provided world-class patient care, research and education through a civil war, two world wars, pandemics, depressions and many other times when Richmond and the country needed help most.

The Egyptian Building has been a part of the VCU School of Medicine for nearly all of the school’s 180 years. Above, you see the building, which is the MCV Campus’s and VCU’s most iconic struture, in the 1890s, 1930s and 2010s. Photos: Courtesy of Tompkins-McCaw Library (left and center)
The Egyptian Building has been a part of the VCU School of Medicine for nearly all of the school’s 180 years. Above, you see the building, which is the MCV Campus’s and VCU’s most iconic struture, in the 1890s, 1930s and 2010s. Photos: Courtesy of Tompkins-McCaw Library (left and center)

Some of our stories on the history and impact the school has made throughout the years involved contributions to heart transplantation, organ sharing and donation, the 1918 Flu Pandemic and sickle cell disease outreach and research.

Today, more than 2,000 students and trainees from around the world study at the School of Medicine every year, and the school’s researchers account for almost half of VCU’s sponsored research awards.

To celebrate all its history and the year in which it was founded, the School of Medicine launched the 1838 Campaign. The $25-million campaign is building the school’s scholarship endowment into a resource on par with our peers. So far, the campaign's success has led to 30 new student scholarships, 16 more in the works, and 46 existing scholarship funds that have received additional gifts.  To learn more about the 1838 Scholarship Campaign, contact the school’s development office at (800) 332-8813 or MedAlum@vcu.edu.

School of Nursing

Jean Giddens, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Nursing, addresses the crowd at the school’s 125th Anniversary Gala at The Jefferson Hotel on October 25. Photo courtesy of VCU  School of Nursing
Jean Giddens, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Nursing, addresses the crowd at the school’s 125th Anniversary Gala at The Jefferson Hotel on October 25. Photo courtesy of VCU  School of Nursing

Creating a separate, yet parallel legacy and impact on the MCV Campus for more than a century has been the School of Nursing, which celebrated its milestone at the 125th Anniversary Gala at The Jefferson Hotel on October 25.

Founded in 1893 as the Virginia Hospital Training School, the School of Nursing has evolved from offering a diploma in nursing to offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. It has graduated more than 11,000 nurses and now enrolls approximately 800 students annually.

In 1920, the MCV School of Nursing founded the St. Philip School of Nursing to educate African American women during segregation and to provide nursing care for patients in the St. Philip Hospital. To read more about the school’s history and see historical photos, click here.

On the left, the St. Philip School of Nursing Class of 1959 gathers for a photo on the MCV Campus (photo courtesy of Tompkins-McCaw Library). On the right, the stories of six St. Philip alumnae are highlighted in the VCU School of Nursing’s Heritage Room (photo courtesy of VCU School of Nursing). In 1920, the MCV School of Nursing founded the St. Philip School of Nursing to educate African American women during segregation and to provide nursing care for patients in the St. Philip Hospital.
On the left, the St. Philip School of Nursing Class of 1959 gathers for a photo on the MCV Campus (photo courtesy of Tompkins-McCaw Library). On the right, the stories of six St. Philip alumnae are highlighted in the VCU School of Nursing’s Heritage Room (photo courtesy of VCU School of Nursing). In 1920, the MCV School of Nursing founded the St. Philip School of Nursing to educate African American women during segregation and to provide nursing care for patients in the St. Philip Hospital.

The school celebrated its anniversary all year, hosting events that included a birthday celebration on April 21 during alumni weekend, a blood drive and bone marrow registry event on Sept. 12, a lecture and time capsule dedication on Oct. 24, and the October 25 gala. More than 270 faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends participated in the gala, which was a culmination of the year-long celebration.

The gala raised more than $83,000 for the School of Nursing 125th Anniversary Scholarship, and the school is still accepting donations. Its goal is to raise $125,000 by the end of the year, and from now until then, anyone who donates $50 or more to the fund can pick up a print of "When Nursing Flowered," a work by Baxter Perkinson, D.D.S., a past VCU rector and avid watercolorist. To coordinate print pick up, please contact Amber Yancey at abyancey@vcu.edu or 804-828-2993.

To learn more about all the ways you can support patient care, research and education across the MCV Campus, visit our giving page.

At the VCU School of Nursing’s 125th Anniversary Gala, students dress in nursing uniforms seen throughout the profession’s history. Pictured from left to right with era of uniform: Andrea Berger, 1950s; Shirley Barlow, 1940s; Jerica Santorum, 1980s; Jedidiah Fung, present-day; Stephanie Rudderow, 1890s. Photo courtesy of VCU School of Nursing
At the VCU School of Nursing’s 125th Anniversary Gala, students dress in nursing uniforms seen throughout the profession’s history. Pictured from left to right with era of uniform: Andrea Berger, 1950s; Shirley Barlow, 1940s; Jerica Santorum, 1980s; Jedidiah Fung, present-day; Stephanie Rudderow, 1890s. Photo courtesy of VCU School of Nursing