VCU Libraries Gallery

University College of Medicine

University College of Medicine Faculty, 1894

Faculty of the University College of Medicine, 1894. Hunter H. McGuire is seated in the center of the front row with his arms crossed.

Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire and 26 prominent Richmond citizens organized the University College of Medicine (UCM) to keep students from leaving Virginia for their medical education and to fulfill the founders’ desires for a more rigorous education program. Located on Clay and 12th Streets, UCM opened in October 1893 with McGuire serving as president. The College had separate schools for medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy as well as a training school for nurses at Virginia Hospital.

UCM existed for 20 years until it consolidated with MCV in 1913, due in part to the increased financial strain at the college and the findings of the Flexner Commission report of 1910 which recommended a merger of the two schools.

Original UCM buildings

University College of Medicine, 1894. The Bruce-Lancaster house (right) located on the corner of 12th and Clay Streets was modified to serve as the educational building for UCM. The Caskie-Brockenbrough house became the Virginia Hospital. Both structures were renovated and expanded during the next few years to accommodate the growing college.

UCM expanded and renovated buildings

UCM and the Virginia Hospital after the expansion.

Times Dispatch newspaper covering the fire at UCM

In the early morning of January 6, 1910, a fire broke out in the UCM college building and threatened the Virginia Hospital next door. The hospital suffered minimal smoke and water damage and all the patients and staff were evacuated safely, but the college building was destroyed. Classes continued in the Millhiser tobacco factory on 12th Street while a new “ultra modern, fire-proof” building was constructed. McGuire Hall opened on May 29, 1912. A fourth floor was added in 1940-41. The building still bears the UCM name over the door and in a tile mosaic inside.

McGuire Hall

McGuire Hall, 1914. The original college building was destroyed by fire in 1910. Two years later UCM dedicated its new, fireproof building financed through gifts from the citizens of Richmond.