Class of 1965 Shares Fond Memories of GW at H Street Society Induction Ceremony
Each year during Alumni Weekend, the George Washington University’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) honors the class celebrating its 50th medical school reunion with a luncheon hosted by the dean and a ceremony inducting them into the H Street Society. On Sept. 25, 2015, members of the SMHS M.D. Program Class of 1965 gathered at the Fairmont Hotel to join this select group.
Named for the former location of the medical school building, the H Street Society brings together graduates of 50 years and up. At this year’s annual luncheon, inductees and current members connected for friendship and to reflect on their time at GW. “Today, it gives us an opportunity to get to know each other again, and for people to talk about themselves and learn where people’s paths have taken them,” said Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D. ’81, RESD ’85, vice president for health affairs at GW, Walter A. Bloedorn Professor of Administrative Medicine, and dean of SMHS.
Akman invited guests to share their memories of medical school. Many commented on the wonderful time they had as students and the quality of their education. “GW was the happiest educational experience of my life,” recalled Daniel S. Mazzuchi, M.D. ’65, RESD ’69. “It was one of the hardest, too, in many respects, but it was a joy.”
Alumni talked about the important relationships and friendships they formed during their time as students. “The first week of medical school, two very important things happened to me,” said Marlene E. Haffner, M.D. ’65, RESD ’66. As they worked on cadavers, she met some classmates, one of them became her “roommate for 52 years,” her husband, William H. Haffner, M.D. ’65, RESD ’66. She also met Ruth P. Waldbaum, M.D. ’65, who became a good friend.
Some recounted stories of Emeritus Professor Paul Calabrisi, M.A. ’40, who taught anatomy at SMHS from 1938 to 1973, and served as chair of the department and the school’s Admissions Committee. Andrew H. Koo, M.D. ’65, B.A. ’62, recalled how as a GW undergraduate he had his interview with Calabrisi when he applied for medical school, only to learn that the class was full. Later Koo was in Quigley’s Pharmacy on campus when Calabrisi walked in.
“He tapped me on my shoulder and said, ‘Andrew, are you ready for medical school?’ ” recalled Koo. A student had dropped out, and Koo was next on the waiting list to be admitted. Calabrisi continued: “ ‘So if you’re interested, drop by in two weeks.’ So that’s how I got into the class,” said Koo.
The Class of 1965 attended medical school and began their careers against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. “I went to Brooks Air Force Base to become a flight surgeon,” said James H. Mering, M.D. ’65. There, he was roommates with his classmate, Grant P. Bagley, M.D. ’65. It was as a flight surgeon that Mering saw Vietnam "from 30,000 feet."
The society, which inducted its first members in 2012, gives alumni the welcome opportunity to reminisce with those who helped shape and inspire them as they embarked on their medical training. For Mering, seeing old classmates and wishing them well was worth the trip. “This has been a great experience,” he said, “to go to school here, and to come back here now.”