March 22, 2002
Volume XXXV, No. 12

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Exhibit highlights 'father of Texas medicine'

Sketch of Smith

Celebrate the history of medicine in Texas and one of its founders by visiting the Briscoe Library's exhibit "Yankee and Texan — The Scholar and Brawler." The exhibit, which is on display now though June 30 in the library foyer, features the life of Dr. Ashbel Smith (1805-1886), the first president of The UT System Board of Regents. Patricia Bowen, special collections library assistant, researched and mounted the exhibit.

Dr. Smith earned his M.D. degree from Yale University in 1828. After treating the sick during the cholera epidemic in Paris, France in 1832, Dr. Smith came to Texas and worked closely with Sam Houston, who was at that time, president of the Republic of Texas. Houston appointed him surgeon general of the Army of the Republic of Texas. In this capacity, Dr. Smith established the first military hospital in Houston. He also later served as secretary of state and Texas state representative.

In 1881 Dr. Smith was selected to serve as president of the UT System Board of Regents and dedicated himself to recruiting top-notch faculty members and developing a curriculum for a "university of the first class." He championed the cause of public education for nearly 50 years. Dr. Smith is known as the "father of Texas medicine" and as the "father of The University of Texas System."

For more information, call ext. 7-2400.


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