Pioneering Medical Education in Texas
Publication Year: 2013
Tucked away in a corner of the University of Texas Medical Branch campus stands a majestic relic of an era long past. Constructed of red pressed brick, sandstone, and ruddy Texas granite, the Ashbel Smith Building, fondly known as Old Red, represents a fascinating page in Galveston and Texas history. It has been more than a century since Old Red welcomed the first group of visionary faculty and students inside its halls. For decades, the medical school building existed at the heart of UTMB campus life, even through periods of dramatic growth and change. In time, however, the building lost much of its original function to larger, more contemporary facilities. Today, as the oldest medical school building west of the Mississippi River, the intricately ornate Old Red sits in sharp contrast to its sleeker neighbors.
Old Red: Pioneering Medical Education in Texas examines the life and legacy of the Ashbel Smith Building from its beginnings through modern-day efforts to preserve it. Chapters explore the nascence of medical education in Texas; the supreme talent and genius of Old Red architect, Nicholas J. Clayton; and the lives of faculty and students as they labored and learned in the midst of budget crises, classroom and fraternity antics, death-rendering storms, and threats of closure. The education of the state’s first professional female and minority physicians and the nationally acclaimed work of physician-scientists and researchers are also highlighted. Most of all, the reader is invited to step inside Old Red and mingle with ghosts of the past—to ascend the magnificent cedar staircase, wander the long, paneled hallways, and take a seat in the tiered amphitheater as pigeons fly in and out of windows overhead.
Published by: Texas State Historical Association
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Title Page, Copyright
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...versity of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) stands a majestic relic of an era long past. Designed by renowned Texas architect Nicholas J. Clayton and completed in 1890, the beautifully ornate, red brick Ashbel Smith Building, fondly nicknamed “Old Red,” represents a remarkable page in Galveston and Texas history. Within this extraordinary building in early ...
Chapter 1In Search of aMedical School
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March 30, 1881, the Texas Legislature voted to establish the University of Texas and a medical department to go with it. Almost a half century had passed since Ashbel Smith left a successful medical practice in North Car-olina to pursue life in Texas. In 1837, with a medical doctorate from Yale and a year of medical study in Paris under his belt, Smith arrived at the ...
Chapter 2The Talented Mr. Clayton
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FEW, IF ANY, ARCHITECTS shaped the physical characteristics of an American city more than Nicholas Joseph Clayton influenced Galveston. With an almost overwhelming talent and energy, Clayton designed and built many of the major public, commercial, and residential buildings on the Island, most of them built between 1874 and 1902. From breathtak-...
Chapter 3Times of Turmoil andTriumph
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...heat had lifted, and a cool, soft breeze stroked the crowd assembled in front of Nicholas Clayton’s majestic red brick edifice for the opening ceremonies of the University of Texas Medical Department. Ashbel Smith had not lived to see this day. His tough body had given out five years ear-lier at the age of eighty-one and was interred with high civic and military ...
Chapter 4Student Life
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...ning. Each year, the University of Texas Medical Department (later called the University of Texas Medical Branch, or UTMB) welcomed a fresh batch of pupils to three separate schools: the School of Medicine, the School of Pharmacy, and the School of Nursing. Throughout the first fifty years, Old Red served as the academic centerpiece of each program. ...
Chapter 5Restoring a Legacy
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...studied, and sometimes played inside Old Red that one day the building might be gone. But such a possibility became a genuine threat as UTMB advanced into a world in which many historical structures were slowly becoming obsolete. The task of preserving Old Red became a formi-dable one, requiring years of effort by a vast array of determined and ...
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Smith Building remained untouched by natural or manmade disaster. But a huge setback occurred on September 13, 2008, when Hurricane Ike blanketed the Island with floodwaters causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage to UTMB campus buildings, hospitals, and clinics. More than eight feet of water poured into the ground floor of Old Red, destroying ...
Old Red Timeline
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...1881 Seventeenth Texas Legislature voted to establish the University 1888 Nicholas J. Clayton commissioned to design the structure that 1891 October 5: Medical Department opened for its first academic 1892 April 22: The first three graduates received diplomas from the 1900 September 8: Storm of the century caused severe damage to ...
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Page Count: 100
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Fred Rider Cotten Popular History Series