History of the Alumni Association


“The undersigned, members of the first class of the Boston University College of Medicine, desirous of keeping up our mutual relations for the benefit of the Medical Department of the above named University, and for the pleasure and good we may derive therefrom, do organize ourselves into an association.”

-Jesse M. Coburn, Thomas M. Dillingham, George F. Forbes, Levi T. Haywood, and Sophronia Nichols

Thus began the Alumni Association of Boston University School of Medicine in 1874. Since that first meeting, alumni have been committed to supporting the School.

With its threefold mission to champion coeducation, homeopathy, and admission without regard to race or religion, the School found it had an important ally in the Alumni Association. In the early years, the annual meetings of the association were used as forums to exhort alumni to demonstrate the highest standards of medical practices as a way of blunting controversy over the efficacy of homeopathy. In the 1877 annual report, Association President Jefferson Gallison (Class of 1875) wrote, “In justice to our Alma Mater, whose welfare is so closely entwined with ours, and whose honor we should hold ever guard as our own, let us by all suitable measures endeavor to increase our efficiency as practitioners, hers as an educator, and urge upon all the elevation of the standard of medical education…”

For more than 135 years, BUSM graduates have served the School as faculty, administrators, and benefactors. Incorporated in 1902, the Alumni Association has provided the School with a ready source of volunteers who advance the purposes of the School, and who provide important financial support to BUSM. Alumni offer their services to the School as officers and directors of the association, as class agents, as fundraisers, and as reunion organizers. Since its inception, the Alumni Association has met annually to conduct business, to honor distinguished alumni, and to welcome each new graduating class to the Alumni Association. The membership is composed of all graduates as doctors of medicine of the School; since 1994, all graduates as doctors of philosophy in the Graduate Medical Sciences program at BUSM are members of the association.

Throughout its history, the School has relied on the association to provide support for programs and projects. In the early years, the Alumni Association was called up to contribute funds for laboratory equipments and mall building projects. In the 1930s and 1940s, the association raised funds to start an endowment, for support of new academic departments, and to support the growing need for classroom and laboratory space. In the 1950s, a campaign was launched to raise scholarship aid from the alumni, a priority that continues today. The Instructional Building, erected in the 1960s, received significant support from alumni; the library, which is housed in the Instructional Building, is named the Alumni Medical Library in honor of alumni support. More recently, the William F. McNary Jr. Student Learning Resource Center has been established with major support from the Alumni Association.