Allan Block, left, and John Robinson Block speak at the kickoff celebration marking the creation of the former Medical College of Ohio, now the University of Toledo Health Science Campus, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in December, 2014.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
History surrounded guests on Wednesday as they entered the 50th anniversary kickoff celebration for the Medical College of Ohio.
Banners with the slogan “Healing Begins With Knowledge” hung in the corridor en route to a ballroom in the hotel on campus. Display tables held neckties with the MCO emblem; a black medical bag of the type given to medical graduates in the college’s early years; the brass plaque on the former Maumee Valley Hospital’s nurses’ residence, plus newspaper articles and other memorabilia.
Many of the guests helped make that history.
“This was only a cornfield,” recalled Maurice Manning, who was hired as an associate professor of biochemistry in 1969, the first year medical students were enrolled. The first permanent building on the new campus was not dedicated until 1973.
The school was created Dec. 18, 1964, when Gov. James A. Rhodes signed legislation establishing the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo. At the MCO dedication, Mr. Rhodes declared that Paul Block, Jr., The Blade’s longtime co-publisher, was the “moving force” behind the medical school.
And it was Mr. Block’s bona fides as a chemist that persuaded Mr. Manning to be involved.
“It was an adventure for everybody,” said Mr. Manning, who became a distinguished professor of biochemistry and cancer biology. The medical college became a part of the University of Toledo in a 2006 merger. “It was nice to be there at the beginning and see it grow. The science that has been done here is phenomenal.”
And Mr. Block would be delighted at what has been accomplished, said his son Allan Block, chairman of Block Communications Inc., parent company of The Blade, and an honorary co-chairman of the 50th anniversary steering committee.
“I think he would be thrilled at what’s already been done, and he would be looking to the future, to see the full vision of this medical school realized,” Allan Block told the guests at the celebration. That full vision would include eliminating academic mediocrity and enhancing excellence in all fields; achieving national ranking, and stimulating the local economy, which it has done “to a very significant degree.”
“He would say, ‘Don’t rest on the laurels. Congratulate yourself for one evening, then move forward to something better,’ ” Allan Block said.
Paul Block, Jr.’s son John Robinson Block, who is publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade, spoke of his father’s commitment to creating MCO and how that became a dominant part of dinner-table conversation in the early 1960s.
“I wondered what could be so important to my father,” John Robinson Block said. “I cannot recall anything that was more consuming during those years.”
His father encountered resistance, even among some in the medical community of Toledo.
“If there was one very frustrating aspect of my father’s whole life and existence, it was he usually thought well ahead of the times he lived in,” said John Robinson Block, who is an honorary co-chairman of the anniversary steering committee. “He believed in this.
“I can’t think of anything that meant more to him in his whole life other than his chemistry lab, The Blade, and of course, the Medical College of Ohio.”
Also speaking about the medical school’s history — and future — were Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, UT’s president, and Dr. Jeffrey Gold, a UT executive vice president and dean of the college of medicine and life sciences. The institution is now called the University of Toledo Medical Center.
A dinner on May 31 is among events planned to mark the MCO 50th anniversary.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: email@example.com or 419-724-6182.