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Celebrating 50 Years: 1970

Faculty of Medicine admits first students

Students were admitted to the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine program for the first time in the fall semester of 1970.  The University received 410 applications for 32 seats in its first medical class, 250 of which were seriously considered for admission. Screening for the successful applicants involved faculty and non-faculty persons who could present a community viewpoint as well as a university one.  Students were chosen based on scholastic potential, personality and motivation, with students who would provide the maximum community service in a future medical career while finding personal satisfaction in their professional work most likely to be admitted.  The class was
limited to a small number because the medical school facilities had not yet been constructed, although preliminary work had begun on the Heath Sciences Centre site. This first class of students were taught in a space prepared for them on the top of the Foothills Hospital clinical wing.  The intention was to increase class sizes by stages to 64 and ultimately 96 as more space became available. The school currently accepts approximately 150 students annually.

The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary had its beginnings in 1964, when a royal commission on health services in Canada outlined the projected needs for family physicians required to maintain a ratio of approximately one physician per 870 people. The commission made specific recommendations for the development of new, basic science facilities to educate future physicians. It also recommended that new medical schools be established across the country, among them a medical school at the University of Alberta in Calgary. Funds were made available from the Health Facilities Development Fund to provide up to half the cost of construction of these new medical schools.

Formally created in 1967, the Faculty was originally housed on the University’s main campus. Students in the class of 1975 were the first to start their program in the newly constructed Health Sciences Building built adjacent to the Foothills Hospital. 

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