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BCM - Baylor College of Medicine

Giving life to possible

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Baylor College of Medicine History

In 1900, a small group of dedicated physicians and community leaders started a medical school in Dallas to improve the practice of medicine in North Texas. The fledgling school was called the University of Dallas Medical Department, although no such university existed. The school opened its doors Oct. 30, 1900.

The young medical school needed a true affiliation with an established university to survive, and, in 1903, an alliance was formed with Baylor University in Waco. At that time, the name changed to Baylor University College of Medicine. The College struggled in those early years to improve its curriculum, facilities, faculty, and students, and, by 1918, it was the only private medical school in Texas.

Over the next several decades, the College continued to grow, but faced many financial challenges.

In 1943, the M.D. Anderson Foundation invited Baylor University College of Medicine to join the newly formed Texas Medical Center. The College opened in Houston July 12, 1943, in a converted Sears, Roebuck & Co. building, with 131 students. Four years later, the College moved into its present site in The Roy and Lillie Cullen Building, the first building completed in the new Texas Medical Center.

In 1948, Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., joined the faculty as chair of the Department of Surgery, and the following year, The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences was established. During the next several years, the College began its affiliation with a number of hospitals, which created superior training facilities for students and residents.

The College's rise in prominence began in the 1950s when Dr. DeBakey's innovative surgical techniques garnered international attention. The 1960s brought the first major expansion of College facilities, along with a major turning point for the institution.

In 1969, by mutual agreement, the College separated from Baylor University to become an independent institution. This encouraged broader, nonsectarian support and provided access to federal research funding. The institution's name changed to Baylor College of Medicine.

That same year, the College entered into an agreement with the state legislature to double its class size in order to increase the number of physicians in Texas. The agreement remains in place today.