The Class of 1967 Returns for a Trip Down Memory Lane
Members of the Class of 1967 gathered in the Roosevelt Ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C., for the annual H Street Society Luncheon on Sept. 15. As part of Reunion Weekend at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), the school recognizes those celebrating 50 years as alumni by inducting them into the H Street Society.
The Class of 1967 was greeted by Jeffrey Akman, MD ’81, RESD ’85, vice president for health affairs, Walter A. Bloedorn Professor of Administrative Medicine, and dean of SMHS. Akman took to the podium to welcome the class back to a very different medical school from the one they knew.
“We’ve got some new digs. Very different from where you went to medical school,” he said in reference to Ross Hall, which opened in 1973.
Akman gave a brief update on new developments at both the school and university levels, highlighting the arrival of President Thomas LeBlanc to GW and underscoring the new president’s vision for the university to “aspire to pre-eminence as a comprehensive global research university.” Akman then commented on how SMHS is working to achieve that vision.
He then turned the mic to those seated around the tables in the room. Each member of the class had the opportunity to take a few minutes to update everyone on the paths they have been down since graduating and to share the most memorable moments of their time in medical school.
A lasting, communal memory for the Class of 1967 occurred in their first year as medical students. “It’s not a positive memory, but it is a significant one,” said Constance Battle, MD’67, a member of the Dean’s Board of Advisors. “That is the fact that we came back to biochemistry on a foggy afternoon on November 22, 1963.”
Battle was referring to the day they learned President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Several of her classmates also commented on the significance of that moment during their speeches.
Humorous memories, however, were also abundant during the luncheon.
Chester Osborn, MD ’67, recounted the day that his wife delivered their first child with the help of William McKelway, MD, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at SMHS at the time. “McKelway turns to me in the delivery room, and he says, ‘Sit down here, Osborn. You have a B … do this!”
Some memories from 50 years ago still ring true with the medical school as it is today. “I remember the medical school on H Street,” said Robert Erickson, MD ’67. “You could see these white coats coming down the stairs, and you could tell they just got out of anatomy because of the smell that followed them.”
“You can still tell in the medical school building when the first-year students are walking around after their anatomy lab,” Akman joked. “You can smell them coming.”
The luncheon attendees also included members of older medical school classes, including the Class of 1957, who welcomed the 50-year celebrants into the H Street Society.