Stanford University School of Medicine and the Predecessor Schools: An Historical Perspective

About John L. Wilson (1914-2001)

John Long Wilson received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University in 1935 and his MD from Harvard in 1939. His residency in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital was interrupted when he enlisted in the Navy the day after Imperial Japan bombed the United States Naval base at Pearl Harbor. Dr. Wilson remained on active duty for five years, serving much of that time in the Pacific Theater of Operations as a Naval Flight Surgeon. He continued his residency at U.S. Naval Hospital, Chelsea, Massachusetts until his discharge, completing his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1949.

From the beginning of his civilian medical career, Dr. Wilson focused on medical education. In 1949, on his way from San Francisco to join the faculty of Cheloo University of Medicine in the People’s Republic of China, he learned that the school had been closed to Americans. Instead, he became a Clinical Instructor in Surgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Still intent on serving abroad, he began a fifteen year career with the American University of Beirut in 1953. In preparation for this, he had spent a year in Thailand under the Point IV Program with a team of U.S. physicians from Washington University School of Medicine. At AUB he served as Professor and Chairman, Department of Surgery and Acting Dean and Dean of the Faculties of Medical Sciences.

Returning to Stanford in 1968, he served as Professor of Surgery until his retirement. He served as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs from 1968 until 1984, and also served as Acting Dean from 1970 to 1971.

After this distinguished career in surgery and administration, Dr. Wilson spearheaded efforts to secure the archival records of the Stanford University School of Medicine and to integrate them with records of the predecessor schools. With the support of the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine, Stanford University Archives, and Lane Medical Library, Dr. Wilson oversaw the establishment of the Lane Medical Archives and served as its Honorary Curator. In 1989 Dr. Wilson he began writing a history of the Stanford School of Medicine and its predecessor schools based on the archival records held in the collection. In 1998, Dr. Wilson completed Stanford University School of Medicine and the Predecessor Schools: an Historical Perspective", which was subsequently published in an online format.

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