History

The First Full Time Faculty of the Department of Surgery.
From left to right, standing, Doctors William R. Richardson and G. Rainey Williams; seated, Doctors Gilbert S. Campbell, Merlin K. DuVal, Jr., Rene B. Menguy, and John A. Schilling.

The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine began as a two-year basic science program in 1900 and became a four-year medical school in 1910. With the completion of the University Hospital in 1918, the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine became a Class A medical school and has continued as such since.

For many years the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine Department of Surgery was attended by surgeons from the Oklahoma City surgical community. Dr. LeRoy D. Long, a practicing physician and surgeon in McAlester, Oklahoma, was appointed the first Dean and Professor of Surgery in the School of Medicine in 1915. At this time, three voluntary faculty members were also appointed. They were Dr. William J. Jolley, the first Department Head, Dr. Robert M. Howard, and Dr. E.S. Ferguson.

The first resident in surgery was accepted for the academic year 1920-1921 for one year of training. One resident a year was appointed for the next decade. In 1938, the surgical residency program was approved for two years. At that time the number of residents varied from two to four. Following World War II, the surgical residency program received approval for three years of training, and in 1952 for the full four years. By this time the total number of surgical residents had increased to five. In 1959, the thoracic surgical residency program was given approval.

In 1956 Dr. John A. Schilling became the first full-time chairman of the Department of Surgery. Dr. Schilling graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed his surgery training at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. He was invited to the University of Oklahoma where he was successful in recruiting a number of outstanding faculty members including: Dr. Merlin K. DuVal, Jr., Dr. Rene B. Menguy, Dr. Gilbert S. Campbell, Dr. G. Rainey Williams, and Dr. William R. Richardson. Four of the six original full time faculty members were Markle Scholars - Doctors Campbell, DuVal, Menguy and Williams.

 


Dr. John A. Schilling

Dr. DuVal subsequently became the founding dean at the University of Arizona School of Medicine and served as Undersecretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. Dr. Menguy became chairman of the surgery department at the University of Kentucky and later, chairman at the University of Chicago. On leaving the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Campbell became chairman of the surgery department at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Williams succeeded Dr. Schilling as chairman of the surgery department at the University of Oklahoma in 1974, when Dr. Schilling moved to the University of Washington where he became chairman of the surgery department. Dr. Richardson a pediatric surgeon, who had trained with Dr. Robert Gross in Boston, moved to Cincinnati where he was affiliated with the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. Dr. Lazar J. Greenfield succeeded Dr. Campbell on the faculty at the University of Oklahoma and served as chief of surgery at the Oklahoma City Veterans Administration Hospital. He remained at the University of Oklahoma for seven years, leaving in 1974, at which time he assumed the chairmanship of the department of surgery at the University of Virginia, Richmond. He subsequently moved to the University of Michigan where he has been chairman of the surgery department since 1987. Dr. Ronald C. Elkins joined the surgery faculty in July 1971 and has remained at the University of Oklahoma since that time. Dr. Elkins is chief of the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery section and vice chairman of the surgery department.


 Dr. G. Rainey Williams

Dr. Williams, who graduated from medical school at Northwestern and did his surgery training at Johns Hopkins, was chairman of the surgery department from 1974 to 1996, at which time ill health forced his retirement. He was succeeded by Dr. Russell G. Postier. 

Dr. Postier attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma and completed his surgery training at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Postier, a noted gastrointestinal, biliary and pancreatic surgeon, has served on the surgical faculty since 1981. He was residency director from 1983 until 1997 when he assumed the chairmanship of the Department.

For additional information about the OU Department of Surgery history, read "Department of Surgery Indian Territory to the 21st century".

 


Dr. Russell G. Postier