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175 Years of Medicine at UB: Home

Last Updated: Jan 8, 2024 3:16 PM

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The University of Buffalo began in 1846 as a medical school. 2021 marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of UB, now known as the State University of New York at Buffalo. In celebration of this milestone, we prepared a guide highlighting some interesting facts and people associated with the medical school. We also compiled a list of resources for anyone interested in learning more about the school's history.

This guide was created by Matt Gadziala and Nell Aronoff. We would like to thank Bill Offhaus and Jessica Hollister from the University Archives for their contributions.

And now, a word about our founders...

“The most advantageous location of professional schools is now generally admitted to be at one of the greatest centers of population, wealth, and business. It was with a full appreciation of this idea, and with a wise foresight and faith in the future greatness of Buffalo, that in 1846 a number of young and energetic lawyers and doctors assembled in a small office on Main Street, there to found the University of Buffalo.” 

Excerpt from "A University City" in the 1899 Iris yearbook.

Faculty 1861 photo

Faculty of Medicine, 1861. Standing L-R: Dr. Hadley, Dr. Rochester, Dr. Mason. Seated L-R: Dr. White, Dr. Moore, Dr. Eastman, Dr. Lee. Three of the founders are in this image, Drs. Hadley, White, and Lee.

Image from the University Archives (Image ID UA_35A_1_1)

Requirements for Admission in 1922

Seventy-seventh session begins Monday, September 25, 1922. Laboratories fully equipped. Extensive hospital and clinical facilities for personal bedside study of cases.

Requirements for admission: Two years of work in an approved college of liberal arts and sciences, including twelve semester hours of chemistry, eight semester hours each of physics and biology, six semester hours of English, and a modern foreign language.

Ad printed in the 1922 Iris yearbook.

School of Medicine Laboratory circa 1959

School of Medicine Laboratory circa 1959. Image from the University Archives (Image ID UA_85C_5_11)

Male and Female Graduates

Male and female graduates graph

In the original Medical School graduating class in 1847, there were only 17 graduates who completed a total medical program of 16 weeks. (Source: Buffalo Physician Fall 1974).

2021 numbers are from the 2017 White Coat Ceremony.

Medical technology circa 1985

Medical technology circa 1985. Image from the University Archives (Image ID UA_25V_60)

Pathology Museum photo

Pathology Museum at 24 High Street in 1936. Photographer: Edward G. Eschner, MD. Image from the History of Medicine Collection

Procedure circa 1975. Image from the University Archives (Image ID UA_25V_052)

Year Yell 1 Yell 2
1899 Racca-Lacca, Racca-Lacca, Racca-Lacca-Line!
Senior Medics, 99! 99! 99!
1900 Rah-Re-Ri-Ro
1900 Medico-
Zip! Boom!! Bang!!!
1901 M. C. M. I.! Rick-a-ta-lix!
Rat-a-ta-thrat! Ca-boom! Ca-bix!
Buffalo Medics! Kick-a-bah-bah!
Naughty One! Naughty One! Wah! Woo! Wah!
1902 Crickety-crix-coax-coax!
Wahoo! Wahoo!
U.B. Medics! 1902!
Hero! Hiro!
1903 I thought I heard the U.B. say
That the Seniors gave their yell today
With a revo, with a rivo,
With a revo-rico-vum.
It’s just as plain as plain can be
That the Seniors lead in 1903.
With a rit tail, with a rat tail,
Riding on a cat tail – Boom!!
Rip, zip, bah.
Rip, zip, bah.
Senior Medics
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Other classes
There may be,
But they’re not in it
With Nineteen Three
1904 Live man, sick man, dead man, stiff-
Catch ‘im up, cut ‘im up, what’s the diff?
Humerus, tumerous, blood and gore,
U.B. Medics, 1904.
1905 M-e! M-e-d! M-e-d-i-c! U.B.!
Five! Five! Nineteen-five!
U.B. Medics! Seniors!
1906 Cut, slash, carve,
Stir, rub, mix.
U.B. Medics 1906.
1907 Rip, dig, cut and trace,
Dope, soak the human race,
Doctor, minister, hell or heaven,
Buffalo Medics 19’-7.
1908 Acids, ferments, knives and drugs,
Blood and muscles, bone and bugs,
Cut, rub, dope,
Fix ‘em up straight,
U.B. Medics, 1908
Rack-tack, rack-tack,
Rip stiffs up the back,
Munyons, bunions, worm food bait,
Medics, medics, 1908.
1909 Arsenic, strychnine, dead man’s bones,
Rip ‘em up, cut ‘em up, hear their groans,
Skulls and crossbones is our whine.
U.B. Medics 19-9.
1922 Acids, ferments, knives and drugs,
Blood and muscles, bone and bugs,
Cut, rub, slash,
Fix them two by two
U.B. Medics, 1922.
1923 Tibia and fibula
Inferior corner
Radius and ulna
Twenty-three skiddoo.

In the early yearbooks, most classes had yells, and some even had flowers and mottos. The motto of the Class of 1907 was "Ad sidera per aspera," meaning "through hardships to the stars." In 1921, the motto was "Serve no master but the truth."

Cost of attendance

Year Cost 
1846 $65 per year
1871 $75 per year
1896 $130 per year
1921 $275 per year
1946 $500 per year
1971 $1,600 in state; $2,000 out of state per semester
1996 $8,450 in state; $17,100 out of state per semester
2020 $21,835 in state; $32,580 out of state per semester

In 1846, students had tickets to attend classes. Board was $2-3 weekly. The circular that year explained that “No extra charge will be made for fuel, light, servant’s hire, or for the use of contingencies of the dissecting rooms.”

Black Physicians that Graduated from UB 1891-1985

Librarian Dorothy M. Haith, PhD, wrote a booklet listing the black physicians who graduated from UB from 1891-1985. By reviewing old yearbooks, she determined that there were 170 black graduates in that time period. Sixty-six were women.

Between 1891 and 1950, there were only five black graduates. Two of these graduates, Dr. W. Yerby Jones '24 and Dr. James C. Dunn '50, later served on the faculty. The first black woman to graduate from the medical school was Joan E. Clemmons in 1966.

Many of these graduates were New Yorkers, hailing from places like the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Buffalo. A number of students came from foreign countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, and Trinidad.


1. Haith, D.M., Black physicians graduated from the University of Buffalo Medical School, 1891-1985 / by Dorothy M. Haith. 1985, United States: D.M. Haith.