Established less than fifty years after America gained independence from British colonial rule, its history is intricately linked with the nation’s evolving landscape. The College’s narrative includes a diverse range of
experiences, encompassing issues like wars, racism, and sexism that have left a lasting impact on society.
It wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that UVM, home to the Larner College of Medicine, opened its doors to any person of color. The College’s history, like that of the nation, bears the scars of a tumultuous past. While the earliest
female UVM student walked to class in the spring of 1872, women were not admitted to medical school here until 1920. While the history of the Larner College of Medicine includes such jarring disparities, it is also punctuated by remarkable achievements
and advancements; Thaddeus Stabholz, a survivor of six Nazi death camps and author of the book “Siedem Piekiet” (Seven Hells), a detailed memoir of his life during the Holocaust, entered the Class of 1953 at what was then known as
the UVM College of Medicine. In 1962, during the height of America’s Civil Rights Movement and only a mere two years after a courtordered integration in New Orleans, Louisiana admitted Ruby Bridges—the first African American child
to attend an all-white elementary school in the South—into William Frantz Elementary School, J.W. Clemmons, Ph.D., M.D., emeritus professor of pathology, joined the College as the second African American faculty member. An invaluable member
of the community, Clemmons taught and conducted research at UVM for more than 30 years.
Embracing Change for Two Centuries
While cherishing its traditions and history, Larner is not chained to the past, but is an institution that embraces change as an essential part of its identity to advance its mission. The College
understands that health care is ever evolving, with advances in medical science, shifting patient demographics and changing societal norms to name but three dynamics continuously moving the goalposts. To excel in this landscape, Larner is committed
In a time of rapid change, Larner is determined to develop alongside the communities it serves, recognizing the importance of diversity in health care. The institution aims to reflect the changing demographics of its patient populations, understanding
that inclusivity is a top priority that ultimately improves patient care and outcomes.
A Gift Fueling Innovation
A generous gift in 2016 from Dr. Robert Larner, a Class of 1942 graduate, and his wife, Helen, accelerated the College’s transformation and enabled investments in cutting-edge technology, human
capital, infrastructure, teaching methods, and curriculum.
Their donation provided the College with the means to launch several key initiatives, including the digitization of the curriculum, the creation of innovative classrooms to facilitate active learning, the establishment of an advanced simulation center
for clinical skill development, and the recruitment of an endowed Professor of Medical Education to lead the Teaching Academy. Their philanthropy has empowered countless aspiring physicians and biomedical researchers, emphasizing the transformative
power of generosity.
The Larner College of Medicine’s investments in education have
produced impressive outcomes. Vermont ranks first in the nation
for active patient care primary care physicians per capita and fifth
in all physicians per capita, according to the AAMC State Physician
Workforce Data Book (2019).
Admission to the Larner College of Medicine is highly selective. In
the class of 2027, only 124 students were enrolled from a pool of 8,569
applicants, ensuring that the institution continues to attract the best
and brightest minds.
As the Larner College of Medicine concludes its bicentennial
celebration, it not only commemorates a rich history but also
embraces a dynamic and evolving future. This journey carries
the wisdom of the past and in a health care landscape marked by
continuous transformation, the College has charted a visionary
path forward, captured in four strategic priorities. They form the
foundations upon which a future defined by clinical excellence,
innovation in education, pioneering research, and unwavering
community health will be built.