After 1876 courses, several faculty attended meetings of national and international importance, some giving papers. Among them was Drs. Edward Geddings, Henry Campbell, Louis Dugas and Joseph Eve. Medical Department of the University of Georgia extended its courses of lectures to five months for the session of 1878-1879, a step that reflected growing national concern over glaring inadequacies in medical education. The institution widely advertised the extension of the course of lectures and pointed to it with pride as a clear indication of the progressive spirit of the faculty and trustees. The act itself was considered commendable and courageous, but because few other U.S. medical schools followed the example, the college reverted to four months the following year.
As the son of the first dean of the Medical College of Georgia, Dr. H.W. DeSaussure Ford received his education at Richmond Academy, University of Georgia and Medical College of Georgia. He immediately took a position in Philadelphia, but left at the outbreak of the Civil War. After serving the Confederacy as a surgeon, he returned to MCG as professor of anatomy. He helped found the "New" City Hospital and chaired its governing board. He was involved in other civic activities as a City Council member, president of Richmond Academy, physician to the Augusta Orphanage Asylum and Tubman Home and surgeon to the Georgia railroad and other railroads in the south. He had the unusual distinction of serving as dean of the Medical College of Georgia three times in four decades, a testimony to his ability and character as a leader.