Jump to content
School of Medicine Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine profiles

December 2009 Archives

December 3, 2009

Augustus L. Warner (1807-1847)

warner.jpgWarner led the group of four Richmond physicians who organized the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College in 1838. A medical graduate of the University of Maryland, Warner taught in Baltimore and at the University of Virginia before relocating to Richmond. He served as the first dean and professor of surgery for the medical school that would become the Medical College of Virginia. Under Warner’s leadership the medical department secured a permanent home with the construction of the Egyptian Building in 1844.

Baruj Benacerraf (1920-2011)

benacerraf.jpgA native of Venezuela, Benacerraf was denied admission to over two dozen medical schools before a family friend secured him an interview with the assistant to the president of the Medical College of Virginia. Benacerraf attended MCV during World War II when the school operated on an accelerated schedule and graduated in 1945. Following graduation, he served in the army before embarking on his remarkable career in medical research. In 1980 Benacerraf with his colleagues Jean Dausset and George D. Snell received the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology.

Jean Harris (1931-2001)

harris.jpgAfter graduating with honors from Virginia Union University, Harris became the first African American student admitted to the School of Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia. She graduated in the top five of her class earning her degree in 1955. Harris spent three years as an intern and resident at MCV before completing her post-graduate training at the University of Rochester. She served on the School of Medicine faculty during the 1970s before becoming the first African American cabinet member in the Commonwealth of Virginia when Governor John Dalton appointed her Secretary of Human Resources in 1978. The National Governors’ Association recognized her work on the federal and state level by honoring her with the association’s distinguished service award in 1981. At the time of her death Harris was serving as mayor of Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

Mary Baughman (1874-1956)

baughman.jpgAmong the first female graduates of the Medical College of Virginia, Baughman began medical school in 1918 at the age of 44 when MCV first opened its doors to women. She was the second woman to receive an appointment at MCV’s Memorial Hospital before joining the medical school faculty in 1923 as the first female clinical instructor, a privilege she shared with Dr. Charlotte C. Van Winkle. A birth control and family planning supporter, Baughman maintained an active practice in Richmond, participated in variety of community and civic activities, and was widely known for her advocacy of women’s rights.