The Bard Of Medicine
Knowing that Samuel Bard was George Washington’s personal physician might win you money in a trivia game show. But you’d really score points if you knew that Bard founded Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and served as its first president. The College of Physicians and Surgeons opened its doors in 1767, when the school was known as King’s College, and awarded the nation’s first medical degree two years later. Bard delivered the first commencement address at that graduation ceremony, held on this date in 1769. His address, entitled “A discourse upon the duties of a physician, with some sentiments on the usefulness and necessity of a public hospital,” was later published as an 18-page pamphlet that served as the nation’s first medical ethics book.
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