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50th anniversary celebration

Submitted by melanie.tibbetts on Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:46am

50 years of changing lives

Since opening our doors in 1967, our medical school has grown and evolved into an internationally recognized leader in education and research with a focus on precision medicine and precision public health. We are incredibly proud of the rich history of our medical school, and look forward to the next 50 years as we work together to create the future of health in Calgary and beyond.

Throughout 2017, we will mark this special milestone by appreciating how far we’ve come on our journey in the evolution of medicine, and the impact our school has in southern Alberta and around the world.

Celebrating Dr. Bill Cochrane

In 1967, Dr. William Cochrane became the founding dean of the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine. It is because of Dr. Cochrane's vision, and natural talents as a leader and business leader, that Calgary has a medical school – a school that’s dedicated to being a national leader in health research, that works to improve the quality-of-life for patients, and that benefits our community. 

This video was created in celebration of the school's 50th anniversary, and in thanks to Dr. Cochrane for bringing our medical school to life, and for the impact he has had on medicine and health care in Canada.

50 Years of Changing Lives

Created in celebration of our medical school's 50th anniversary, this video highlights how having a medical school in Calgary is changing lives and how we are working together to create the future of health.

50th Anniversary Celebration
April 20, 2017

Submitted by melanie.tibbetts on Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:35am

50 faces of our medical school

This year, we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of our medical school in many ways – like honouring the students, faculty and staff who make our school the amazing place it is.

Know someone who should be recognized? Let us know! Be sure to include their name, title, contact information, and a brief explanation as to why you're nominating them.

Dr. William A. Cochrane

Dr. Bill Cochrane and his family at our 50th Anniversary Celebration
kickoff event on April 20, 2017.

Dr. William A. Cochrane

“I like to see something accomplished – I like to look 15 years ahead and target the future,” said Dr. Bill Cochrane about his approach to his work. He has always been driven by a desire for new challenges, and the satisfaction of seeing successful outcomes. It’s that motivation that empowered him to so greatly influence Canadian medicine.

Recognized early on as a leader in pediatrics, Dr. Cochrane’s career evolved through medical research, medical education, biotechnology, and business. In 1958, after completing his medical training and beginning his career in Toronto, Dr. Cochrane moved to Halifax where he became a professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie University. While there, he initiated the first cystic fibrosis clinic in the Maritimes, formed the Atlantic Research Centre for Mental Retardation, and secured support and funding for the Isaac Walton Killam Hospital for Children.

In 1967, Dr. Cochrane put his natural talents as a business leader to work by becoming the founding dean of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine and serving as a professor of pediatrics. “Calgary has always deserved a great medical school, and it wouldn’t be here without Bill Cochrane,” said Dr. Jon Meddings, Dean, Cumming School of Medicine.

Dr. Cochrane built our medical school from the ground up, being heavily involved with curriculum planning, the recruitment of faculty members and designing the Health Sciences Centre building. Dr. Cochrane introduced a new integrated and interdisciplinary approach to medical education, and established one of only two three-year doctor of medicine programs in North America.

In 1973, Dr. Cochrane was seconded by the Government of Alberta to serve as Deputy Minister of Health. However, he returned to UCalgary in 1974 as president and vice-chancellor, and established the faculties of humanities and law.

During the 10 years he spent at the university, Dr. Cochrane established a satellite health clinic at the Stoney Indian Reserve in Morley and was named honourary medicine chief, a very rare accolade. He also saw the first class of medical students graduate in the top half of the licentiates of the Medical Council of Canada (1973).

After leaving the university, Dr. Cochrane enjoyed many additional accomplishments. He served as chairman and CEO of Connaught Laboratories (1978–1989), received the Order of Canada (1989), the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award (2002), the Alberta Order of Excellence (2007) and was elected to the Biotechnology Hall of Fame by the BioAlberta Association (2009). He was named one of 100 Alberta Physicians of the Century (2005) and has received four honourary doctorates. Dr. Cochrane was also inducted into The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (2010).

The Cumming School of Medicine recognized Dr. Cochrane’s contributions during the 50th Anniversary Celebration on April 20 with a video and the unveiling of a special portrait. The Cumming School extends a sincere thank you to Dr. Cochrane for bringing his vision of our medical school to life, and for the impact he has had on medicine and health care in Canada. 


As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations, we're honouring the students, faculty and staff who make our school the amazing place it is.

Know someone who should be recognized? Let us know! Be sure to include their name, title, contact information, and a brief explanation as to why you're nominating them.

Josh White, MD '17

Stepping into our 50th year with new socks created by a Cumming School of Medicine student

Finding just the right takeaway gift to mark the 50th Anniversary of the school of medicine was no easy feat. But, as it turns out ‘feet’ play a key role. The gift is a customized pair of socks designed by Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) student, Josh White.  Josh is co-founder of Ponos Apparel, a Calgary-based business specializing in custom team socks.

The first order of socks White created for CSM was for his MD class of 2017. 

“Specializing in athletic socks was a natural fit for me and my business partner, Scott Peris. We both played competitive basketball for years, and we noticed every year, we would all get the same standard hoodie, sweatpants, etc., and no one was customizing socks for teams,” said White, who is completing his third year clerkship. “We did our research, and found out there was a niche market we could fill.”

While launching a business went smoothly for White, he says it was more of a winding path that brought him to medical school. He was a student at SAIT and at Mount Royal University with designs on being a dentist until one day he realized he really didn’t like talking about teeth that much. A relative encouraged him to take the MCAT and consider medical school.

“Once I was in, there was no looking back, the three year program was attractive, but I had no idea how hard it would be. It’s been a grind. There’s a lot to cover in three years, and I couldn’t have done it without three excellent mentors,” said White.

Guided by Clinical Assistant Professors, Drs. Jay Lee, Richard Baverstock and Greg Roberts, White is specializing in urology. Dr. Roberts passed away in 2016, from a rare form of cancer.

“Someone told me Dr. Roberts was wearing our special socks in the palliative ward, it made me so happy that he was still connected to us. I feel very lucky to have had him as my mentor,” said White.

 “I spent most of my time with Dr. Lee, who really helped develop my interest in urology.  He was always super helpful when I had questions.  I found that my personality really jived with the urologists I worked with, which was a major reason that I initially became interested in [the field].”

On Dr. Baverstock: “I was able to submit a case report with Dr. Baverstock and he is one of the nicest people I’ve worked with.  He takes the time to know his patients, and he’s the man!”

This summer White will be packing up and heading east to Halifax for his residency program where he’ll work at Dalhousie University in the Department of Urology. Taking the trip with him will be his trusted best friend, Alice, the labradoodle. Ponos Apparel will still be part of White’s future. White will go after new clients on the east coast, and Peris will focus on the western region.

“Oh yeah, I’m going to keep customizing socks, but being a doctor is my going to be my main focus. We have a lot of opportunities for growth and I’m excited for what the future will hold!”

Tidbits from Josh:

Favorite meal: Butter chicken day at Cravings at the Women’s Health Centre.

Best thing about the Cumming School of Medicine: The diversity of the students who attend medical school here. From all ages, backgrounds and cultures. It’s a really special place.

Favorite memory: Ping-pong at BACS Centre

What should the Cumming School of Medicine do in the next 50 years: Stay on top of research and keep technology and facilities up-to-date.  A recent great example is the recently renovated Anatomy Lab.

Advice for incoming med students: Take the time you do have off and enjoy it, especially in Clerkship.  Use your flex days!