Frontiers of Medicine: A History of Medical Education and Research at the University of Alberta

By Elise A. Corbet | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
The Early Years 1913-1921

IN 1912, a group of twenty-five science students at the fledgling University of Alberta signed a petition requesting the Senate to institute a faculty of medicine. Henry Marshall Tory, president of the university, presented the petition to the Senate at its meeting in April of that year and gave it his complete support. Medical practitioners arriving in the rapidly developing West, he said, preferred to settle in the larger urban centres, and those settlers who lived in small communities and rural areas had little access to a physician. If the farming families in the outlying districts were to receive adequate medical care, then it was necessary to train doctors in Alberta. Those who had been raised here understood the needs of the people of the province, and after their training would return and settle in the local communities in which they had lived. Tory's persuasive arguments, coupled with the students' petition, led the Senate to agree to the establishment of a medical school as soon as faculty members and a curriculum could be put in place.

For President Tory, the introduction of a medical school within the framework of the University of Alberta was a long-cherished dream, and he had been laying the groundwork for several years. Tory's concept of a provincial university included the early introduction of professional faculties, so that young Albertans could be trained in the professions without incurring the expense of travelling to eastern universities. Before he

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