A Brief History

The vision for a medical school at Wright State University originated with Dayton area physicians and community leaders who recognized that using existing hospitals and other clinical resources would be a cost-effective model for medical education. In return, the school's community involvement would strengthen the health care system throughout the region.

In 1970, just three years after the Ohio General Assembly officially chartered Wright State as an independent state university, university leaders asked for support for a new medical school. They presented a feasibility study based upon what they called the "concept of community" and outlined the broad base of support they had identified for developing such a school.

In 1972, Congress passed the Veterans Administration Medical School Assistance and Health Manpower Training Act, also known as the Teague Cranston Act, which provided financial support for establishing five new U.S. medical schools, including one at Wright State University. The VA awarded the school a $19.5 million, seven-year grant for faculty support and facilities. Other major founding donors included Mrs. Virginia Kettering, who contributed $1 million in unrestricted funds, and the Fordham Foundation, which provided $500,000 for a medical library.

The school was established by the Ohio General Assembly in 1973. A key to selecting the founding dean was finding a leader who could bring to life the community service vision of the school's founders. Many felt that objective was accomplished with the hiring of John R. Beljan, M.D., in 1974.

The school's charter class began studies in 1976 and graduated in 1980. Since then, almost 3,000 M.D.’s have graduated from Wright State. Wright State alumni are practicing in almost every state in the nation. (See: alumni map.)

The strong commitment to community became one of the school's hallmarks. That commitment was recognized nationally when the Association of American Medical Colleges granted the school the prestigious Outstanding Community Service Award in 1997.

In 2005, the school changed its name to the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in recognition of the Oscar Boonshoft family, which gave Wright State's largest philanthropic gift to the medical school.

In fall 2008, the medical school held a grand opening for a new Medical Education Center in White Hall (shown left). The new facility is the result of a three-year project to completely renovate the former Frederick A. White Health Center for Ambulatory Care and to expand the building with an 18,000-square-foot addition. In total, the facility now includes more than 84,000 square feet of lecture halls, classrooms, laboratories, offices, study spaces, computer labs, and common areas, all devoted to the specialized training of tomorrow's finest medical professionals. (Read more here.)