May 2009

A school without walls

Where is the School of Public Health?

Over the years the administrative and programmatic offices for SPH have moved all over campus. Some might even call it a school without walls. A map of SPH locations in the late 1960s illustrates the point.


The map is from a 1969 narrative about the School and its space needs. The report provides a great historical overview of the SPH up until the reorganization of the health sciences into the present day Academic Health Center in 1970. It emphasizes the history of the School and its community partnerships as well as descriptions of each of the divisions and programs and their origins. Read the full narrative below.

And as for being a school without walls, thirty years later the School of Public Health’s emphasis on student/faculty use of online tools and social media publishing is spreading the School’s activities and influences far beyond the map above. It is also expanding the archival terms of digitally documenting and preserving such activities for institutional memory and historical research.


Elliot Memorial Hospital dedication

“If we believe in our form of government, we have a right to expect that the State should and will administer public business. We believe that education is the business of the State and that teaching for physicians and nurses should be in reality a training in social service. We believe therefore that Minnesota has done wisely and we deem our optimism well founded.”

The above is from the comments Dean Wesbrook made at the dedication ceremony for the newly opened Elliot Memorial Hospital on September 5, 1911. However, the dedication booklet below reveals that the state appropriated only one-fifth of the required sum. In comparison to Wesbrook’s remarks, this seems to be a smaller than expected amount.

The hospital was primarily funded by a $113,000 gift to honor the hospital’s namesakes, the late Dr. and Mrs. Adolphus Elliot. With accumulated interest and additional donations the total amount privately raised for the hospital equaled $162,000. The State of Minnesota provided the remaining $40,000 necessary to purchase the land and construct the new facility.

The booklet also includes a brief history of the push to establish a teaching hospital on campus by Dr. J. E. Moore, the dedication address by University of Minnesota president, George Vincent, details of the Elliot Endowment and other donors, and essays on the value of teaching hospitals by Dr. Charles Moore and the newly organized School for Nurses by Dr. Richard Olding Beard as well as the teaching hospital’s economic benefit to the state by Dr. Charles Mayo.

Some interesting statistics of the first year of the hospital are included at the end:

Number of patients admitted to the hospital during the first year: 912
Number of patients seen through outpatient services: 33,190
Number of outpatient prescriptions filled: 13,513