The Tennessean, July 4, 1877



Interesting Exercises at Its First Commencement--Twenty-three Graduates Receive Diplomas.

The Nashville Medical College held its first annual commencement exercises, last night, under most encouraging auspices. Despite the heat of the weather, and the discomfort attending that fact, Masonic Theater was occupied by a fine audience of the better class, who paid the closest attention to the proceedings.

Dr. J. O. Stanley opened the exercise with prayer, and after music by the band, an address was delivered by Dr. W. P. Jones, Dean of the Faculty.

In this address he gave good and wise counsel to the young gentlemen who were about to be clothed with the dignified title of doctor. They should not let this be the close, but the real beginning of study--they should keep their studying-caps on, and let the endeavor of their whole lives be to reach the topmost round of the profession, and to stand in the foremost rank in medicine.

The diploma was not a passport to success. They had but just crossed the Danube, and the great battle was yet to be fought. They should act so as to win the blessing of the widows and the fatherless, and so that the benedictions of those ready to perish might come unto them.

The valedictorian of the class, L. B. Wright, of Mexico, was then introduced, and delivered an address in which the duties and pleasures of the profession were ably outlined. However little they had accomplished, there was cause for the most earnest self-gratification in their selection of a place of instruction. Then, too, they had been more studious, and had given little time to those pleasures and that deportment heretofore looked upon as belonging to the peculiar province of the medical student. In peace and in war, the doctor had a noble mission--to soothe the sick and dying and relieve distress.

Dr. Wright then bade an affectionate farewell to the audience, faculty and students, and retired amidst enthusiastic applause.

Diplomas were then presented to the following graduates.
A. LeRoy Graves, Alabama.
James S. Ramsey, Tennessee.
Morliz Salom, Georgia.
J. W. C. West, Tennessee.
G. K. Williams, Texas.
Thomas T. Baker, Kentucky.
John M. Leseueur, Tennessee.
L. B. Wright, Mexico.
Ellis G. Whitehead, Tennessee.
John H. Moore, Alabama.
Charles P. Spitler, Tennessee.
J. J. McCrory, Kentucky.
E. R. Vaughan, Tennessee.
T. D. Polk, Kentucky.
Thomas J. Hendley, Georgia.
B. R. Montgomery, Tennessee.
Dewitt Fanning Eskew, Kentucky.
W. H. Pittman, Arkansas.
Irvin A. Coffer, Tennessee.
William D. McGill, Tennessee.
Peyton S. Pope, Illinois.
M. J. West, Tennessee.
William F. Walton, Illinois.

Prof. Paul F. Eve, President of the Faculty, presented the diplomas in a neat and appropriate speech.

Prof. E. M. Wight, of Chattanooga, then delivered the charge to the graduates, in behalf of the Faculty, hailing the newly made doctors as brothers in medicine and the children of the Nashville Medical College. This formed the largest class ever sent forth at the first term of a new medical college in this country. The Faculty did not presume to advise. It took a very wise man to give advice, and a much wiser one to take it. It was not probable that any of the class would have a rush of practice at first. All the old doctors knew they were coming, and had secured all the good cases. Then, when any family spoke against employing a young doctor, the older ones never got angry at it. There were some, too, who were constitutionally mean. From these, they would only get abuse. Many thought it best to let a young doctor practice on somebody else a while, before they could be trusted. It took seven years to make a doctor in Europe, and yet those doctors were no better than those made here in three years. The true way to succeed was very simple. First, get a good practice, then get more. It took from eight to fifteen years to get a respectable practice. Meanwhile, they should all get married. A good wife was the best blessing a doctor could have. The doctors had the best taste in selecting waves, and the best women in the world had always, and would always, marry doctors. Many a celebrated doctor owed his success to his wife. The doctor must be polite, generous and industrious. Prof. Wight concluded with the advice of Polonius to Luertes on his departure for France.

Dr. W. P. Jones then awarded the prizes offered at the beginning of the session, as follows:
Faculty Prize--Gold medal, to W. P. McGill, of Tennessee.
Prizes in Obstetrics and Practical Anatomy--To J. W. C. West, of Tennessee.
Prize in Physiology--To L. B. Wright, of Mexico.
Prize in Materia Medica--To T. P. Polk, of Kentucky.
Prize in Surgery to P. S. Pope, of Illinois.
Prize in Medical Jurisprudence to J. S. Ramsey, of Tennessee.
Prize in Psychological Medicine to A. L. Graves, of Alabama.
Certificate in Obstetrics to H. J. Abernathy, Of Tennessee.

Though this is the first commencement, in the face of all the obstacles, the College has every reason to be proud of its success.


Source: The Tennessean. Nashville, Tennessee. July 4, 1877. Page 4.