TMC’s Fifth Commencement (1894)

Medical College Commencement

The Journal acknowledges receipt of the following invitation:  “The candidates for degrees of Tennessee Medical college request the pleasure of your company at their graduating exercises, Wednesday evening, March 28, 1894, at 8 o’clock, Staub’s theatre.

The lectures at the Tennessee Medical college closed yesterday, and written examinations begin to-day and continue to the 26th.

The Fifth [sic] annual commencement exercises will be held at Staub’s on Wednesday night, March 28.  Col. W. A. Henderson will deliver the oration and Dr. Michael Campbell will deliver the charge to the graduating class, which numbers about thirty, including medical and dental students.  Garratt’s orchestra will furnish the music and a fine program is being prepared which will be published in due season, and the public is invited to attend.

After the services at the opera house, the customary banquet of the faculty to the grades [sic] will be tended at the Palace hotel.

Source:  Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, March 17, 1894, page 8


The Medical College.  The Fifth Annual Commencement at the Theater To-Night

Knoxville has become a great educational center.  She has colleges which fit men for all the professions of life.

To night her citizens will delight to do honor to the fifth annual commencement exercises of the Tennessee Medical college, and Staub’s opera house will be filled with those who will appreciate the splendid program printed herewith.

The faculty will be pleased to see the house well filled and is anxious that everybody should be invited.

As will be seen from the program, the superb orchestra under the directorship of Prof. Garratt will be in attendance and will give several selections, which feature alone will well repay for the trouble of coming.

Then most of our people know that one of the happiest public speakers in the state is Judge H. H. Ingersoll, who will make the address to-night.  The people may expect something good from the judge, and he will not disappoint them.

Col. James Van Deventer, president of the board of trustees, will confer the degrees, and here again the audience will find itself especially interested.

After the exercises are concluded the faculty, class and invited guests will repair to the Palace hotel, where Mine Host Flanders will have prepared a superb collation, one of those which has made the Palace famous over the south.

This banquet will be tendered the graduates, twenty-six of the medical college and seven of the dental department, by the faculty.  Toasts will be responded to by distinguished Knoxville citizens, Dr. D. H. Williams acting as toastmaster.

The medical college is a growing institution and is growing right along in the midst of adversity and distress in general lines of business.  Of this fact the best evidence will be given to-night at eight o’clock.

Read the following program:

Overture — Festival.  Lortzing.
March — “Medical Students.”  Garratt.
Divine Invocation:  Rev. D. H. Moore, D. D.
Address:  Hon. H. H. Ingersoll.
Waltzes — “Robin Hood.”  DeKoven.
Conferring degree of doctor of medicine by Col. James Van Deventer, president board of trustees.
Overture — “Rye and Rock.”  Brooks.
Conferring degree of doctor of dental surgery, by Col. James Van Deventer, president board of trustees.
Operatic selection, “Poor Jonathan.”  Millocker.
Charge to graduates, by Prof. Michael Campbell, M. D.
Gavotte, “Loving Hearts.”  Tobain.
Awarding prizes.
Benediction.  Auld Lang Syne.

Source:  Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, March 28, 1894, page 5


Pills and Powders.  A Brilliant Class of Bright Young Men Were Graduated

Judge Ingersoll in His Address Tells what the College Has Done for Knoxville

The fifth annual commencement exercises of the Tennessee medical college at Staub’s last night proved thoroughly satisfactory to all interested in the success of this thoroughly progressive institution.

The audience filled the opera house and comprised people of high order of intelligence, such as made a thoroughly appreciative audience.  It was an audience of Knoxville citizens who have been awakened to a genuine pride in this medical college, for it is attaining success through a heroic, sacrificing, untiring management that can only result in success.

After the immense audience had been seated, the inspiring strains of an overture from Garratt’s full orchestra filled the house.  As the curtain arose the following young graduates in medicine filed to reserved seats in the audience, as fine and intelligent looking lot of  young physicians as were ever authorized to administer pills and write prescriptions:

Addison William Aslip, Kentucky; George Simeon Brock, Kentucky; James Clyde Butler, Tennessee; Samuel Franklin Casenburg, Tennessee; Benjamin Madison Clark, Tennessee; William Prescott Connally, Georgia; Nathan Caldwell Doane, Tennessee; John Comstock Ducker, Wisconsin; Samuel Wiley Flanagin, Tennessee; John? Adam Gault, Wisconsin; Faustine [illegible], Virginia; Marcellus Munroe Irwin, Tennessee; James Reagan Jump, North Carolina; Phillip Lobenhoffer, Germany; Afred Earnest McMahon, Texas; William [illegible] Mays, Tennessee; Caleb Jefferson Keys Moore, Tennessee; John Oliver Nichels, North Carolina; William James Norton, Indiana; Robert Cowan Thomas, Tennessee; Richard Mathus Tiller, Tennessee; James Henry Walker, Tennessee; Silas Anderson Walker, Tennessee; William Augustus Wall, Kentucky; Martin Wegmann, New Mexico.

Following is the list of graduates in dentistry:

Myron Henry Emory, Tennessee; John Bush Jones, Texas; John Pinkney Lee, jr., South Carolina; Lewis Arthur Neill, Alabama; John Starkweather Sayles, Wisconsin; Joseph Horace Shank, Ohio.

Seated on the platform were the speakers of the evening and the faculty.

Dr. C. H. Drake acted as master of ceremonies and announced the invocation by Rev. Dr. D. H. Moore.

The speaker of the evening, Judge H. H. Ingersoll, was next introduced.  As the judge took the platform he was granted with an ovation.  Though he had to serve on short notice, the judge gave a very interesting address.  Particuliarly [sic] so was that portion which gave an historical sketch of the growth and success of the college.  Its adversities were many but have been bravely met.

Up to the present time there have been 119 graduates; there has been expended $25,000 for this institution, a permanent investment for Knoxville.  The speaker gave a detailed report showing that a revenue was given to the city by reason of this college, amounting to $25,000 annually.  Though this college was in North Knoxville and the speaker lived in West Knoxville, he elicited several rounds of applause when he said  “We are assembled in the restricted limits of ‘Knoxville proper.’  But to me these are all the arbitrary and unfortunate sections of a single city, an united whole, and I cannot refrain before this intelligent audience assembled from all parts of the city, from expressing the wish that the union of these separate corporations, which must come before long, will come quickly, and that meanwhile no evil spirit of discord may be suffered to strengthen our present almost imperceptible walls of separation and draw forced lines of distinction or ordain compulsory alienation.  Let no Cadmus sow his dragon’s teeth among us, but drawing more closely together, let us make the bonds of apparent unity substantial, let the true spirit of civil pride animate all our personal relations and official actions, and let this beautiful city, intelligent and prosperous, have a union as firm and enduring as the everlasting hills upon which she stands.

But the students here receive more than they give, a wisdom that is better than riches.

This faculty does not worship tailor-made clothes, but rather brains; men who will be able to successfully broaden their usefulness in the world.

Harvey may have discovered a hole in his pants before he discovered the circulation of blood, but he blessed the world with his intelligence.

The importance and propriety of being a gentleman in this profession were treated upon.  Such a person should be required of him who was taken into the secrets of the fireside.

But honor and gentility would not alone stop a fever; there must also be learning, wisdom and skill.  And these qualifications this college was established to look after, and the college thus again gives a reason for the loyal support of this city.  Prosperity and increased usefulness should be given to it.

The philanthropic promoters of this college have a lot on which they propose to soon erect a hospital for the treatment of helpless sick and suffering, where the stranger in our midst may be properly treated.  We rejoice in fine colleges, seminaries, business houses and residences, but how soon may we be able to boast of a hospital building befitting the honor of the city?

Addressing the class, he said that as life places the art of healing upon them, they will learn in time that the chiefest pleasure that comes to them will be when they realize that they have done their duty as best they could.  This will bring a better satisfaction than any other recompense.  It is better to give than to receive and you may find that to be so, even with your own medicine.

After some music by the orchestra the interesting ceremony of conferring degrees took place.  As Dr. Drake called the names of the class each one was greeted with a round applause, those from other states receiving even more than those from Tennessee.

The class in medicine was first to receive degrees, which were conferred by Col. James Van Deventer.  The colonel spoke briefly as follows:

Gentlemen:  The faculty and trustees have delegated to me the pleasure of conferring upon you your well earned degrees.  With these credentials to support your claims, your skill and attainments in your chosen profession will be every where recognized.

These diplomas will always be full of associations to you.  They will suggest the cares and anxieties as well as the pleasures of the most important formative period of your student life.  But you must place sentiment aside and regard them solely as the foundations upon which he must rest your future professional careers.

You have been educated primarily for an object; and the faculty and trustees of this institution will at all times rejoice at your professional successes.  But it will give to them a far higher gratification to know that you have so acquitted yourselves amid the temptations, trials, and struggles of life that humanity has been benefited by your conduct — that the world has in some degree been made better and happier by your existence.  Then you will not have lived in vain.

No man is complete by himself individually.  It is necessary that he be helped by those associated with him — his family, his friends, his neighbors.  He is only one atom of an indivisible mass; and his good depends on what he contributes to the help of mankind.  Upon no class do the demands of the miserable and suffering come with more frequency and force that upon the conscientious physician.  When these demands are made upon you, as they will be, do not refuse them from whatever source they may come.  It is foreign to the true spirit of the profession to regard it solely as a means of livelihood; and this degrading view finds no favor with the physician who honors his calling by his character.

Assuring you one and all of the esteem and respect of the faculty, and extending to you in advance a hearty welcome whenever you shall revisit the scenes of your labors and triumphs, I now in behalf of the faculty and trustees of the Tennessee medical college, confer upon each of you the degree of doctor of medicine.

Col. Van Deventer then addressed the dental class as follows:

Gentlemen:  In no other part of Christendom has dental surgery attained the high position professionally, which is accorded to it in our own land.  It is therefore but natural that American dentists should as a class be regarded as the best in the world.  Let it be your constant aim to maintain this high reputation by your good work.

Theoretical knowledge and attainments as well as manual dexterity and mechanical skill are essential to the equipment of a good dentist.  Avoid mediocrity in both.  Be equally thorough in theory and in practice.  In no other way can you achieve eminence for yourself and uphold the standard of the profession.

Recent circumstances impose upon you the necessity of unusual professional circumspection.  You will go from this stage as marked among your professional brethern [sic] in the state.  The faculty send you forth with implicit confidence that the instruction which you have received and the use you have made of it will baffle all hostile efforts to detract from your own merits, and through you to impair the usefulness of your alma mater.  See to it that this confidence is not misplaced.  Use no empirical methods.

Stick to acknowledged standards until others have proved better.  Conservatism, at such times is the best hold.  Progress, otherwise called improvement, steadily advances in all the sciences; but those who first catch hold of its car are sometimes thrown under its wheels by opposing opinion.

Extending to you the best wishes of the faculty and trustees of this institution I now, in their behalf, confer upon each of you the degree of doctor of dental surgery.

The usual display of beautiful commencement boquets [sic] were an attractive feature of this occasion.

Dr. Drake took occasion to state that this class had attained a higher average of merit in examinations than any class yet graduated.

Dr. Michael Campbell, professor of mental diseases of this college, next delivered the charge to the graduates.  It was a very able and scholarly address, full of sound advice and thought, particularly interesting to the profession.

Dr. Drake next tendered the audience, on behalf of the faculty and students, thanks for its kind and encouraging attendance, and the awarding of prizes followed.  Each presentation was greeted with a storm of applause.


Faculty prize:  A gold medal for highest attainment in all branches in medicine on final examination, awarded to Robert Cowan Thomas, of Tennessee, with honorable mention of the attainments of Alfred Earnest McMahon, of Texas.

Faculty prize:  A gold medal for highest attainments in all branches in dentistry on final examination, awarded to John Bush Jones, of Texas, with honorable mention of the attainments of Myron Henry Emory, of Tennessee.

A prize of a gold medal, offered by Chapman, White, Lyons & Co., of Knoxville, for the “Most Meritorious Dissertation Based on Original Research of Pharmacy Plants of East Tennessee,” awarded to Mr. Thomas Ulysses Crowley, of Tennessee, of the junior class, medical department; and, it might be added, one of the best compositors The Journal ever had, and one of the best ball players in the state, and one of the best young men in general.

A set of obstetrical instruments was presented Dr. R. C. Thomas for best attainments in Dr. McNabb’s department, awarded by Lowe & McBath.

After the exercises were concluded, the audience was dismissed by Dr. Moore with a benediction.

The faculty and students and invited guests then repaired to the Palace hotel.

The Banquet

The spacious dining room of the Palace had a continuous table arranged along two sides and one end to which seventy-three persons were seated.

An elaborate menu was served in six courses, to which at least thirty-two young doctors, who have just quit regulation boarding houses, certainly did full justice.  They had heard of Delmonico, but the Palace was good enough.  It was a royal feast of all those things found on elaborate menus.  Only one other drink besides coffee and water was served.  Roman punch was served just once and it was a mighty weak solution at that, so there was no spectacle of inebriation.

After delicious cigars had been passed, Dr. Williams, the toast master, commenced his clever work, and proposed toasts to which some very eloquent and humorous responses were made.

Dr. Cawood, dean of the college, responded to “Our boys of ’93 and ’94.”  He was given an ovation by the boys as he arose.  He spoke of the high compliments he had heard from members of the faculty on this class and its work.  It had been notoriously a class of hardworking, painstaking young men, who had gotten closer to his heart than any class yet.

Dr. Masters responded to “The Moonshiners in Medicine.”  Dr. Masters is notoriously the wit of the faculty and he soon had the boys hurrahing wildly.

Prof. Gibson responded to “The Microbe in Politics.”  Microbe had puzzled him but he had found it was an Irishman by the name of Mike Robe.  Again the microbe is a little object but gets there just the same.  The chancellor rallied the boys to laughter several times.

Dr. Yarborough said some very clever things in response to “The Public Enemy; or a Wrestle with Bugs.”

Dr. Bosworth started off humorously, but wound up very eloquently, on “Our Narrative Instinct — How Can We Survive It?”

Dr. McMahan, a member of the graduating class, made some excellent points on “Why I Became a Fell Destroyer,” and he was followed by Dr. Robinson, on “Domestic versus Foreign Fillers,” in which he acquitted himself very creditably.

Dr. Jones was next on “Our Difficulties — What We Don’t Push, We Pull,” and he brought down the house in fine shape.

Dr. Wellen, of the University of Tennessee, made a very apt and happy speech, and a Journal man would up the talk on “Our Friend, the Doctor.”

It was a very delightful and happy wind-up of the fifth annual commencement exercises, and there followed the usual regretful handshakings and farewells, wherein many parted never to meet again — but such is life.

Most of the class departed this morning for their homes.


Dr. Dulaney’s famous speech in presenting Dr. Tom Crowley’s medal was enjoyed immensely.  He is of Bristol, and a great humorist.

The class represents thirty-five brainy young men who will talk the Tennessee medical college in ten different states.

Source:  Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, March 29, 1894, pages 1 & 5

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