After removal from the Class A list, the school began a massive program to correct deficiencies so that high ranking would be restored. The program included hiring faculty, constructing new buildings and renovating older ones. In 1934, the University of Georgia School of Medicine began integrating medical teaching and research. Research bore fruitful results in the areas of venereal diseases, the heart and pharmacology, as well as in the departments of anatomy and medicine. In early 1936, the school raised entrance requirements to three years or 90 hours for students entering that fall. In May 1936, the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals restored the school to the approved list, but placed it on probation. The council removed the probation status one year later.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the U.S. government placed University of Georgia School of Medicine on a 12-month operating basis to aid in the war effort along with all other medical schools. During the war years, the school offered an accelerated year-round program that allowed entering students to complete their degrees in three rather than four years. The program also allowed already enrolled students to graduate ahead of schedule. The students were subject to military training and service following graduation. The school purchased many new books and journals after the library received a $10,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1942. On July 1, the institution hired Sadie Rainsford, the first professional librarian.
Known for its satirical format, The Cadaver, an MCG student publication that allowed students and faculty from all the schools to display their literary talents, was conceived and organized in 1946. In 1947, the school published the Aesculapian, MCGs first yearbook. Also in 1947, Drs. Robert Greenblatt and Herbert Kupperman developed a two-hour pregnancy test that was more accurate than older tests and of particular value in surgical emergencies where time was of the essence. In 1948, Dean George Lombard Kelly recommended a year of internship for all graduates before they received degrees. On Jan. 18, 1950, the regents decided to make the medical school a separate and independent unit within the University System. The regents restored the name of Medical College of Georgia and changed the executive title from dean to president.
On February 1, 1951, President Kelly's dream of MCG having its own hospital came true when Gov. Herman Talmadge, son of Gov. Eugene Talmadge, signed a bill authorizing building a state hospital in Augusta. A few months later, the General Assembly approved naming the hospital after the late Gov. Eugene Talmadge. During spring 1951, the school modified teaching practices to be more practical for third- and fourth-year students. This modification resulted in students attending large classes for didactic courses and smaller classes for lectures. The curriculums alteration also provided more opportunities for working in hospitals and clinics. In November 1951, the hospital officially opened the new heart laboratory. A grant from the National Heart Institute provided funding, and the facility was under the direction of Dr. William F. Hamilton. The 1951 commencement saw the college bestow the first Master of Science degrees, one in medical art and the other in medical microbiology.
Political Protest of 1945
Dr. George Lombard Kelly (1890-1972)
Dr. George Lombard Kelly, a native Augustan, withdrew twice from medical schools because of illness before he received his MD degree from the Medical Department of the University of Georgia in 1924. Before he graduated, he started teaching at the school in 1918 as assistant professor of anatomy. Dr. Kelly earned his BS in Medicine in 1921 and MD degree in 1924. The school promoted him to professor of anatomy five years later. In 1934, the Board of Regents named Dr. Kelly acting dean of the institution, and in 1935, they appointed him dean. Dr. Kelly embarked on a 20-year mission, not only to save the school from extinction, but also to put it on a strong foundation that would assure its continued existence and growth. He developed a master plan that included establishing a state owned and controlled teaching hospital in Augusta to replace the city owned and controlled University Hospital.
In 1950, Dr. Kelly became the first president of the school, after the Board of Regents separated the institution from the University of Georgia and renamed it the Medical College of Georgia. He continued to teach anatomy and the history of medicine. In March 1953, Dr. Kelly announced he would retire at the end of the fiscal year to devote his time to his practice. One month after his retirement, construction started on the state hospital. Dr. Kelly was President Emeritus of the Medical College of Georgia until his death in 1972.
Completed in January 1935, University Hospital's Milton Antony Wing, named for MCGs founder, cost $86,500. Funds for this project included $64,875 from the city and county and $21,625 from the federal Public Works Administration. The Antony Wing remained unoccupied until October 1935 when a donation of $18,000 from Mrs. John W. Herbert, a winter resident, funded equipment for the building. The first floor was an outpatient clinic, and the second floor was for patients with communicable diseases. The Jennings Wing, named for Dr. William D. Jennings, an MCG graduate and former mayor, was completed in 1945 with 42 private patient rooms. This addition gave University Hospital a 350-bed capacity.
The Dugas Building, named after Dr. Louis Alexander Dugas, a distinguished early faculty member, was completed in 1937 to house basic science classrooms and laboratories. It was MCG's first newly constructed building since the erection of the Old Medical College building in 1835. The structure was funded by the Public Works Administration. This building has undergone several additions and renovations. MCG's Department of Pediatrics currently uses the Dugas Building.
Occupied in 1939, the Murphey Building was named after Dr. Eugene E. Murphey, professor of medicine and commissioner of public health for Augusta and Richmond County. The Public Works Administration funded construction of the Murphey Building. Having undergone several additions and renovations, the Murphey Building currently houses the Department of Pathology.