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Purdue University. School of Medicine


Historical Information

The School of Medicine at Purdue University operated from 1905-1908. Though only in existence for a short time, it incited much controversy in Indiana, splitting the medical and political establishments of the time and threatening to sour relations between Purdue and rival Indiana University (IU).

Prior to 1905, medical education in Indiana had been provided by several private colleges, though there were several attempts to connect these colleges with state universities. The first attempt occurred in 1903, when the Medical College of Indiana, located in Indianapolis, entered into formal negotiations with IU regarding the union of their institutions. Discussions continued into 1904, but a fundamental disagreement on where the resulting school of medicine would be located, with the Medical College of Indiana desiring it remain in Indianapolis, and IU wanting it moved to Bloomington, led to negotiations failing and being abandoned.

The second attempt occurred during the negotiations of the first, when Purdue University was approached by representatives of the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons of Indianapolis about a similar union. This offer was also declined, with Purdue authorities not wanting to interfere with the concurrent negotiations between IU and the Medical College of Indiana.

In May 1905, the Medical College of Indiana presented Purdue University with the same proposal which had failed ratification with Indiana University. The Trustees of Purdue University took the proposal under consideration, and in September 1905 the proposal of the Medical College was formally accepted. The Medical College of Indiana became a department of Purdue University, and was renamed "The Indiana Medical College, the School of Medicine of Purdue University."

In short order, the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Fort Wayne College of Medicine also expressed interest in joining with Purdue University, and on September 25, 1905 and October 2, 1905, respectfully, both institutions were formally merged into the new School of Medicine of Purdue University.

Following these mergers, they were subject to a controversy with IU and its alumni, who believed that IU alone was granted the right to offer medical degrees in Indiana, citing its 1838 authorization from the state legislature. The controversy continued from 1906-1908, with the medical and political communities of Indiana split between those in favor of IU running the medical school, and those who supported Purdue University.

Finally, in the spring of 1908, a compromise was met between both sides. The two schools’ medical programs would be combined into a single IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and governed by a Board of Directors representing IU, Purdue University, and the Indiana State Medical Society. This lasted until 1909, when the state legislature clearly mandated that Indiana University assume full responsibility for the state's public medical school, officially ending Purdue’s involvement.


MSP 174, Purdue University School of Medicine Collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.


Board of Trustees minutes, 1908 Mar. 27, BOTM19080327, UA 58, Purdue University Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries, 4.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Purdue University School of Medicine collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 174
Scope and Contents The Purdue University School of Medicine collection documents the history of the short-lived School of Medicine of Purdue University, from its 1905 inception until its eventual 1908 merger with Indiana University and transformation into the current Indiana University School of Medicine. Topics covered in the collection include pre-medical courses offered at Purdue prior to 1905; early attempts by Indiana medical colleges to merge with Indiana University and Purdue University; the 1905 mergers...
Dates: 1895 - 1997; Majority of material found within 1905 - 1907