Medical School Quietly Reaches Plateau

By Patrick Wascovich

Without fanfare, UT Southwestern Medical School conferred its 10,000th medical degree at commencement exercises on June 1.

UT Southwestern is the second medical school in Texas to reach that mark. Only UT Medical Branch at Galveston’s School of Medicine, which was established 52 years before UT Southwestern, has awarded more medical degrees. Begun in 1891, UTMB is the oldest U.S. medical school west of the Mississippi River. It has about 13,400 graduates after this year’s commencement.

Members of the UT Southwestern Medical School Class of 2012 take their oath. View more snapshots from our 2012 Medical School and Graduate School commencement ceremonies.

“This is a major milestone for UT Southwestern,” said Dr. J. Gregory Fitz, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost, and Dean of the medical school. “These are all outstanding individuals, and the enormous positive impact on Texas and on our country of 10,000 physicians and scientists makes us all proud.”

No individual student was recognized as the recipient of UT Southwestern’s 10,000th medical degree. Prior to this year’s commencement ceremony, in which 227 degrees were conferred, UT Southwestern had awarded more than 9,900 medical degrees.

“Medical education has gotten more and more challenging over time due to continuing advances in medical knowledge, so I am most appreciative of our faculty members who have over many years always served as inspiring teachers, mentors, and role models; and who have contributed importantly to improving health care through both clinical practice and discovery,” Dr. Fitz said. “In addition, on behalf of these many students, I want to acknowledge our commitment to and sincere appreciation for the many patients that we have the privilege to serve.”

UT Southwestern Medical School, established in 1943, bestowed its 10,000 medical degree during the 2012 commencement. Below are comparative totals of some of the nation’s recognized top medical schools.

School (type, established) number of M.D.s
Harvard Medical School (private, 1782) 15,000 #
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (private, 1765) 13,000 #
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (private, 1754) 20,000+
University of Michigan Medical School (public, 1850) 19,500
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (private, 1893) 10,159
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (private, 1927) 8,500
Yale University School of Medicine (private, 1811) 8,327
Washington University School of Medicine (private, 1891) 8,142
UC, San Francisco, School of Medicine (public, 1864) 7,650
Duke University School of Medicine (private, 1930) 6,400
Stanford University School of Medicine (private, 1908) 6,000
# -- approximate M.D. degree total for past 100 years only. Institutional total not available.


Dr. Fitz holds the Nadine and Tom Craddick Distinguished Chair in Medical Science, and the Atticus James Gill, M.D., Chair in Medical Science.