top of page

Ohio Medical University

Columbus, Ohio



The Ohio State University library has materials on Ohio Medical University in its digital library.  HathiTrust has a digital copy of  the 1901 catalog in its collection.  The seal is from that catalog.


Chartered in 1890, Ohio Medical University opened in 1892 to teach the medical and collateral professions.  It originally offered schools of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy.  For a short time O.M.U. had a school of midwifery.  


Its uniqueness came from its "recitation plan" of instruction.  As a supplement to large lectures and clinical experiences, photos show that students in smaller groups recited from the texts.


O.M.U. quickly became the largest medical school in Columbus, and its graduates included both males and females. Enrollment was listed as 327 in 1897.  Ohio State University library documents state, "Ohio Medical University (OMU), in operation from 1892 to 1907, graduated 30 women. The first was Marinda Emolyn Blackburn in 1893. OMU had one female faculty member: Leona Ferguson Barnes, M.D., who served as Demonstrator of Anatomy from 1898-1899 and graduated from the University in 1895.    


In addition to a chapter of Alpha Kappa Kappa medical fraternity, O.M.U. apparently had an orchestra, which performed at graduation ceremonies.  According to the catalog, one third of O.M.U. students were members of the Y.M.C.A.  The school felt that the presence of the Y.M.C.A. contributed to "character culture" and "religious development" of students.


In 1907 Ohio Medical University merged with its Columbus competitor--Starling Medical College.  In 1914 the Starling-Ohio Medical school accepted an offer to become the medical department of Ohio State University.  

Ohio Medical University with Protestant Hospital.  The hospital was replaced in 1961.  All buildings have been razed. (  Accessed 1-27-2018

Bricks and Mortar

After opening in rooms in a private residence, Ohio Medical University built a four-story facility on Park Avenue overlooking Goodale Park.  In addition to the usual laboratories, classrooms, library, museum, and dispensary, the building contained a 400 seat amphitheater.  It also housed the Y.M.C.A. chapter.


In 1898 a new Protestant Hospital was built on land provided by O.M.U.  The building was connected to the University, and in consideration of this financial assistance,  O.M.U. students were able to use the hospital for clinic experience.  In addition to to the Protestant Hospital and the Free Dispensary, students had use of the nearby State Hospital for the Insane and the Ohio Penitentiary Clinic.  


       Team name: Tigers


According to the College Football Data Warehouse, Ohio Medical played football from 1895 through 1906.  Unlike many medical schools, Ohio Medical played football well at a high level, compiling records of 9-1 in 1902, 7-1-1 in 1898, 7-3 in 1900, 6-2-1 in 1906, and 6-3 in 1905.  However, the program  had critics.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer charged the team with “ ruffianism,” noting that the game with Western Reserve was “full of slugging, holding, kneeing, heeling, and holding.” The 1906 team had players in their fifth and sixth years of collegiate sport. 


The Medics played in the state conference.  Common opponents included Otterbein, Ohio State, Washington and Jefferson, Denison, Wittenberg, Ohio Wesleyan, and Marietta.   They had a 2-5-2 record against Ohio State  and played Notre Dame four times, one being a 6-5 loss in which they outplayed the Irish.


Future major league baseball players Harry “Doc” Gessler and Frank “Doc” Reisling attended Ohio Medical University.

1903 OMU football team (National Collegiate Athletic Association Official Football Guide <;view=1up;seq=438>) accessed 2-05-2017

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

bottom of page