On September 11, 1972, a four-year undergraduate Mayo Medical School opened. Dr. Raymond D. Pruitt, director for education in the Division of Education and a leader in the new school’s development was the dean and chief executive officer; Dr. Ward S. Fowler, associate director, Division of Education, was named associate dean for academic affairs; and Dr. Gerald M. Needham was associate dean for student affairs.
The first two years were considered an introduction to medicine. The first year was devoted to a review of basic human biology with emphasis on clinical correlations, while the second year emphasized two-month clerkship programs in various hospital services.
At the end of the second year, the students had an opportunity to select one of a variety of educational majors or “curriculum tracks,” which provided a foundation for specialty training. Tracks were offered in areas such as medicine and medical specialty, surgery and surgical specialty, internist-generalist, family practice, obstetrician-generalist, pediatrician-generalist, and laboratory science.
During the fifth year, internship, or first-year residency, and in subsequent years of training, the students continued their education to better qualify in a medical, surgical, or laboratory specialty.
The school was the second four-year undergraduate medical institution in the state. At the time, there were 108 medical schools in the United States.