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Omaha Medical College

Omaha Nebraska



The best source for the history of O.M.C. is "The Development of Omaha Medical College, 1869-1902"  by Bernice Hetzner.  The University of Nebraska Medical Center library has placed digital copies of catalogues, commencement programs and copies of The Pulse, the student publication, on the Medical and Health Science Commons.   The Omaha World-Herald carried some school news. The O.M.C. logo is from the 1896 commence program.


Omaha Medical College was chartered on June 13, 1881 and opened for 35 students on October 10, 1881.  Matriculates had to be 18 years of age with a "creditable English education." Graduation requirements included two full courses of lectures--one in residence.  As in most medical schools, these requirements were raised to three years in 1890 and to four years in 1897. 


O.M.C. graduated eight students in 1882, and classes remained small until the middle 1890's, when graduates totaled more than 20.  The last catalog shows 23 graduates and 149 matriculates. 


From the beginning O.M.C. determined to accept female matriculates on the same basis as males.  This led to complications in the first year when the females demanded a separate anatomy class.  This was denied.


At a time when medical schools were criticized for too much didactic instruction, students at O.M.C. were receiving ten hours per week of bedside teaching.   In addition to providing clinical instruction and practice at St. Joseph's Hospital, O.M.C. opened a free dispensary in 1890, so that students had more opportunity to treat patients.


While students could live in Omaha for $3.50 to $5.00 per week, the school recognized that some students were forced to live in less than "the most opulent quarters."   Therefore the basement bathrooms with hot and cold water, created for the football team, were "freely at the disposal of any member of the college who may find it agreeable."


No fraternities or other formal social groups are mentioned in the catalogs or Pulse.  However, an annual banquet and dance was provided for graduates by the undergraduates. 


From 1884 through 1887 O.M.C. had an informal relationship with York College to serve as the medical department of that college.  In 1890 O.M.C. joined with Bellevue College to become the University of Omaha.  Finally, in 1902 O.M.C. became the medical department for the University of Nebraska and so ceased as an independent school. 

Bricks and Mortar

The first OMC building was a two-story frame structure at the corner of Mason and 11th Streets, containing two large lecture halls.  It was beside the St. Joseph's Hospital, where students gained clinical experience.   In 1893 the school moved to a four-story brick building at 12th and Pacific, its home until 1913. This building had a dispensary and student lounge on the ground floor; an amphitheater seating 275 occupied the second floor, with labs above. 


Douglas County Hospital was one of four hospitals used for clinical experience.


The college building has since been razed.

Omaha Medical College Building. Image from "The O.M.C Pulse Annual Announcement Session 1901-1902" (1901).Omaha Medical College: Catalogs. Book 18.  Accessed 2-07-2017


           Team name:  Medics

           Colors: Purple and Gold


The first sports notice in the World-Herald was in December 1891 when the students organized and selected a football team that lost to the Creighton Medical College team 6-0.  Highlight of O.M.C. football history was 1900, when the team compiled a 3-2 record.  Newspaper accounts of this team reveal much of the underside of college football at the time.  The Medics lost 52-6 at Tarkio College. (1) Game officials: The referee, a Tarkio College professor, was the brother of the Tarkio team manager.  (2)Crowd control: When O.M.C. players tried to retaliate against the slugging of Tarkio players, "a lot of hoodlums" in the crowd "pulled off their coats and swarmed out across the gridiron."   Player eligibility:  After losing the Thanksgiving Day game to Rush Medical College, O.M.C. players believed that several of the Rush players "could be proved to be professional players run in for the occasion."  Scheduling: After winning their first three games, OMC's next four opponents cancelled their games with OMC.  Even with a contract, Drake University cancelled the night before the game was to be played.    

The 1900 football team. Image from "OMC Pulse, Volume 04, No. 3, 1900" (1900). OMC Pulse. Book 29.   Accessed 2-07-2017

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.

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