The Establishment of Geneva Medical College

Proposal to establish a medical institution of Geneva College.jpg

The first proposal to establish a medical department at Geneva College under Dr. Thomas Spencer and Dr. John Morgan, 1834.

The Geneva branch of the Rutgers Medical Faculty of Geneva College was deeply dependent on Dr. Hosack. When the courts forcibly cut ties between the two, the branch in Geneva was forced to close as well, despite its legality. The initial idea had been that Geneva College would grant the diplomas, but not staff or run the medical college, as that would be Dr. Hosack’s role.

While this first attempt at a medical college in Geneva had failed to last more than a few years, it demonstrated that a medical college in Geneva did have the potential to be financially lucrative for the young college. So, on May 19, 1834, an official proposal was submitted to the Board of Trustees of Geneva College to create a new self-run medical department “to be settled and matured by Doct. Thomas Spencer and Doct. John Morgan”, both wealthy and successful doctors from the surrounding area.

This led to a special report funded by the trustees to determine the viability of such an endeavor as well as test the waters to see if the board could find local faculty and students willing to populate the new department. The minutes from the board meeting on September 15, 1834, record that the report stated “institutions in this state for instruction in medical science are very generally admitted to be inadequate to the wants of the community" and concluded that both doctors and citizens of upstate and western New York would support the creation of a new medical school. This report encouraged the board to move forward; later that year another proposal was put before the trustees to establish Geneva Medical College.

The Establishment of Geneva Medical College