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The School and its Heritage

Our Beginning

The Rev. Russell H. Conwell, the founder of Temple University, established a medical school for the “common man".

In order to accommodate the students’ day jobs, classes were held on nights and weekends, and total tuition and fees for the five-year program was a modest $635. Medical practitioners taught classes at College Hall, next to Pastor Conwell’s Baptist Temple on what we now call Main Campus. Samaritan Hospital, two miles up Broad Street, was the site of clinical instruction. Anatomical dissections were performed in a hayloft on cadavers delivered in pickle barrels.


The school opened on September 16, 1901 with 31 students, and was lit by gaslight. The faculty consisted of 27 lecturers, demonstrators, and instructors. According to admissions materials, “matriculates of academic or scientific colleges, or graduates of reputable high schools of the first grade, or a normal school established by State authority, of both sexes, are admitted to the first year class without examination".


There were 15 required textbooks; the five-year curriculum required 700 hours of work each year; and the first entering class had 31 students. W. Wallace Fritz, MD, DDS, was the first Dean. He also served as Professor of Anatomy and Clinical Surgery.