History of Rush University

Rush University is the academic component of Rush University Medical Center. Founded in 1972, the University has expanded from one college and fewer than 100 students to four colleges and over 1,800 students. It includes Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences, and The Graduate College.

Rush Medical College is named for Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, who was a physician from Pennsylvania. Rush Medical College was chartered in 1837, opened officially on December 4, 1843, with 22 students enrolled in a 16-week course. During the first century of operation more than 10,000 physicians received their training at Rush Medical College. Rush Medical College was affiliated with the University of Chicago from 1898 until 1942, when the medical college temporarily suspended its educational program, though it continued its corporate existence. Its faculty continued undergraduate and graduate teaching of medicine and the biological sciences as members of the faculty of the University of Illinois. The charter of the medical college was reactivated in 1969 when it became part of the Medical Center, and, in 1971, it reopened with a class of 66 first-year students and 33 third-year students. First-year class size reached its projected maximum of 120 in 1976. More than 4,150 doctor of medicine degrees have been awarded since 1971.

The College of Nursing represents a combined heritage dating back to the late nineteenth century when its first antecedent, the St. Luke's Hospital Training School of Nursing, opened in 1885 to offer diploma education to nurses. In 1903, the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing accepted its first students. From 1956 to 1968 nurses were taught at the merged Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing. Before the establishment of the College of Nursing in 1972, more than 7,000 nurses had graduated from these three schools. Since the establishment of Rush University's College of Nursing, more than 6,050 baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees have been awarded.

The College of Health Sciences, established in 1975, traces its origins to the School of Medical Technology sponsored by Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital from 1959 to 1972. This school was the second largest of its kind in the city of Chicago. During its operation, it provided a one-year professional internship program to more than 200 baccalaureate students in medical technology. Today, the College of Health Sciences offers a doctoral program in audiology and ten programs at the master's level, in addition, to bachelor's programs in clinical laboratory sciences, perfusion technology, respiratory care, and vascular ultrasound and technology. More than 2,150 baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees have been awarded.

The Graduate College was established as a separate academic unit in January 1981, having previously been organized as the Graduate School within the College of Health Sciences. The Graduate College is responsible for educational programs in the basic sciences and offers master's and doctoral degrees in eight disciplines. More than 350 degrees have been awarded since its inception.