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University College of Medicine

Richmond, Virginia



Medical College of Virginia (before 1925) and University College of Medicine (1893-1913) by William T. Sanger provides a history of both schools.  School news and advertisements appeared in Richmond newspapers.  The ad at right comes from a 1908 Virginia Medical Semi-Monthly.


Sanger reported that Twenty-six prominent citizens of Richmond, headed by Dr. Homer McGuire, founded College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1893.  The new school offered a more practical medical experience and more clinical practice than the established Medical College of Virginia.  In its first year the school changed its name to University College of Medicine.


In addition to the three-year medical program, University College offered schools of dentistry and pharmacy.             

According to Sanger, by 1899 U.C.M. had 252 medical students, 36 dental students and 21 pharmacy students.  The medical program had been expanded to four years, the dental program to three years, and the pharmacy program to two years.  Women were admitted into the pharmacy program.



In 1901-02, a Y.M.C.A. was organized on campus, and a new gymnasium had been added.  The campus had chapters of the usual professional fraternities.


By 1909 the Flexner Report listed only 121 medical students.   Since the U.C.M. hospital contained only 50 beds, Flexner judged the clinical facilities to be “inadequate.”  The report went on to recommend the merger of U.C.M. with Medical College of Virginia.


This merger was accomplished in the spring of 1913.   The merged school is now the medical department of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Bricks and Mortar

The original University College of Medicine building was the former house of Alexander Stephens on Clay Street, between 11th and 12th Streets.  A major fire in 1910 destroyed this building.  Missing only one day of classes, school resumed in the Tobacco warehouse, converted to classrooms and laboratory. 


In 1912 the college moved to a new fireproof building, a three story reinforced concrete building,  the first in Richmond.  Later renamed McGuire Hall, it had a fourth floor added in 1940.  It is still in use by Virginia Commonwealth School of Medicine.

UCM's Clay Street building before the 1910 fire.  Image from Illustrated Richmond;view=1up;seq=39. Accessed 2-02-2018


       Team name: Medicos, Medics, Meds

       School Colors: Red and White


Sanger notes that students petitioned the faculty in 1909 “to institute regularly organized athletics.”  Specifically students asked for an athletic association, the employment of coaches, and allowing students to be excused to participate in afternoon athletic training.  But newspapers show baseball games as early as 1907 and sporadic football matches as early as 1907.


The College Football Data Warehouse shows a limited football program between 1909 and the merger with MCV. Usual opponents included Hampton-Sydney, William & Mary, Randolph-Macon, Wake Forest,  and the Medical College of Virginia.


The 1905 UCM baseball team (Image from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Accesssed 2-09-2017

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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