TMC’s Sixth Annual Commencement (1895)

Tennessee Medical College.  Examinations Closed and Commencement Exercises Tuesday Night

The sixth annual sesion [sic] of the Tennessee Medical college closed its examinations yesterday.  The session has been a most successful one.  The faculty met yesterday afternoon at the college and balloted on the candidates for the degrees of M. D. and D. D. S.

The commencement exercises will occur Tuesday night March 26th at Staubs’ [sic] theatre at 8 o’clock.  The public is cordially invited to be present at these exercises.  An interesting program will be in store for those present.  Music will be rendered by Clark’s orchestra.  Dr. D. Sullins, of Centenary Female college, will deliver the address and Dr. C. E. Ristine will deliver the charge to the graduating class and Captain William Rule will confer the degrees.

Source:  Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, March 24, 1895, page 6


Closing Exercises of Tennessee Medical College last Night.  Eloquent Address by Rev. Dr. David Sullins, of Cleveland

The sixth annual commencement exercises of the Tennessee Medical College were presented last night to one of the finest audiences ever assembled in Staub’s opera house.

The program of exercises were under the direction of Dr. J. M. Masters and everything moved along interestingly and with a gratifying sort of business air.  In other words there was none of the usual dragging delays between parts and the audience heard the benediction pronounced before a suspicion of weariness had come upon anyone.

Clark’s superb orchestra furnished music for the occasion and played so nicely as to win applause on one or two selections.  The program was opened with an overture and then prayer was offered by Rev. Dr. Acree, pastor of the First Baptist church.

While the orchestra was playing another selection the audience noticed seated on the platform well known members of the faculty; the Rev. Dr. David Sullins, the speaker of the evening; the members of the Tennessee Dental board of examiners, viz:  Dr. F. A. Shotwell, president; Dr. H. E. Beach, secretary and treasurer and Dr. C. B. Cook, Captain Wm. Rule and others.

In a neat little speech, Dr. Masters introduced the Rev. David Sullins, D. D., president of the Cleveland Female college and quite an ovation was tendered the veteran orator and speaker as he stepped to the front of the platform.  In the course of thirty of forty minutes, the orator delivered one of those characteristic addresses of his full eloquence, humor and pathos.  The audience anticipated something of the kind for there is scarcely a tree in East Tennessee whose leaves have not rustled with the vibrations of his eloquence at camp meetings, and hardly a church, particularly a Methodist church from whose pulpit he has not thundered forth the truth of the gospel.  He has all the elecments [sic] of a gifted orator and hence he appeared before his audience in a role he never assumed before with great satisfaction.

In fact he started out saying that while he was used to speaking in public he was not used to addressing an assembly of doctors and when he was invited to make the address he felt like declining for fear he might display his ignorance of medical science.  But on second thought he realized these doctors would not expect any dissertation on medical science.  For the time being these young men had had enough of wounds, business and putrifying sores.  But in the course of a life of sixty-seven years in these valleys his observations had been of such a character as might possibly enable him to say something that would at least encourage them to love and honor their profession.

He congratulated the city — that city that sits not on seven hills, but on seventeen hills, for having such a noble institutions [sic] and other institutions of learning; he congratulated the faculty that one more year of success had come to its efforts and congratulated the young graduates as being members of the great and noblest of all professions; a profession that had its origin in sympathy, suffering and a desire to relieve it.

He referred to the early periods of medical science when priests were also the doctors, physicians of the physical as well of the spiritual.  He spoke of the first record of the art of healing that he knew of, in the days of the Greeks and Romans and the doctors brought in some baeutiful [sic] and poetic thought along this line.  The most interesting part of his mythological story to the doctors was that of Esculapious the oldest son of Apollo.  His healing powers became such that Pluto complained to Apollo that if his son was not dstroyed [sic] hades would soon become depopulated.  He found that Esculapious being the first born of Apollo, or the son, was typical, being the first light shed by the sun, the promoter of life, health and happiness, making a beautiful compliment to the profession of medicine.

The doctor then became humorous.  Esculapious had two sons and one daughter.  The name of the latter was Hygea [sic], from which we obtain our word hygiene.  This means she was very beautiful, cleanly, pure, didn’t wear her corset too tight, didn’t dance the german, blondine her hair, go with her young man to eat ice cream at Kern’s “after the ball was over” and that she had no false teeth, no wrinkles and lived beautiful to the last days of her 200 years of life!  Now I made that up, it isn’t in the books.  (Laughter.)  P. S.  She would have been a prohibitionist but for an anti suffrage plank in the political platform of that period.

There was a black sheep in this family of Esculapious.  His name was Blather, from which we obtain our word “blatherskite.”  He was bred back.  You know what that means.  The noble characteristics of his predecessors do not appear in him.  We sometimes see this thing around us in our day, and the doctor went on with several funny examples.  He said anyone could be a quack doctor, a man with but little wit, no conscience, plenty of cheek and big words, can still play in the superstitious and the credulous.  I don’t know how many of you have concealed in your vest pocket the left hind foot of a rabbit.

Returning to the serious he showed how through all mythology the art of medicine was complimented.  Even before the days of mythology there were efforts made at healing the sick.  Eve concocted a tea from the leaves and applied it to stone bruises on Cane’s [sic] heels, or made a poultice and applied it to his little stomach, which was full of griping pain from eating too many green apples.  You remember that was a failing in that family.  (Great laughter.)

I trust that you young gentlemen have not entered this profession with the single idea of tariff for revenue only.  To adopt this profession without considering the claims of humanity signifies that you are not fit to be a doctor.  (Applause.)

To no other profession, are our hearts, homes and lives so open as to you.  We never forget how you come through night and storm to our afflicted ones, and how we tried to read your thoughts as you touched the pulse.  Nor can we forget how you took away with you our heartaches by your faithful treatment.  He drew a beautiful scene of impressions that are made around the bedsides of the sick.  Our wives tell you all of their trouble, and our little ones know you on the streets.  Our grown up daughters make you their confidants, and we trust you as wise counselors of our families.  So be pure, be true, good and be gentlemen.  to be other than a gentleman, makes you deserve the anathemas of mankind.  (Great applause).

I congratulate you upon your choice of profession, because of necessity it demands the very highest type of manhood and chivalry.  Other men may flee for safety in times of epidemics, but you must remain and make sacrifices.  A life without responsibility is not worth the living, and the doctor again grew eloquent as he enlarged on this thought.

He used several historical and noticed illustrations which he told in such a manner as to thrill everyone, particularly he [sic] story of Horatious and the bridge; the gallant charge of the nineteenth Tennessee at the battle of Shiloh, and closing with an appropriate quotation from Longfellow’s Psalm of Life.  The audience tendered a hearty applause.

After a musical selection Dr. Masters called to the platform the graduates in medicine, who are as follows:

Brickwell, William Oliver; Fox, Perry Wilson; Foust, Wiley Washington; Goodman, Robert Franklin; Hodges, James Jefferson; Geglar, Arthur Lee; Jones, Thomas Jefferson; Jones, Tipton Westerfield; Lewis, Robert Henderson; Manard, John Jackson; Morris, John Dickson; McClintick, Frank Adams; Minter, Nathaniel Johnson; Parker, Joseph B.; Russell, Anthon [sic] Ellis; Talioferio [sic], Charles Frank; Williams, David John; Yarnell, William Russell; and the following graduates in dentistry; James Walker Grant, of California, and Jno. W. Foley, of Kentucky.

Capt. Wm. Rule then proceeded to confer the degrees first upon the graduates in medicine, saying that it became his pleasure and distinguished honor, on behalf of the faculty and board of trustees to now confer upon them the degree of doctor of meicine [sic].  Permit me to express the wish that you are now entering upon a career of honor and usefulness and may your lives be a pleasure to yourselves and a blessing to mankind.

Dr. C. E. Ristine delivered the charge to the graduates in a short excellent address full of practical thoughts and suggestions, and expressed a fine language.  He took the class back to a period 1263 years B. C. telling a beautiful story of the first record of a case of transfusion of blood, the story touchingly illustrating the principles of pity, faith, skill and knowledge, principles which still prevail in the practice of medicine.  He said our businss [sic] was to add to life.

Our institutions had met with criticisms, but all who had received diplomas from it would always feel proud of their alma mater.  To the citizens of Knoxville who have just cause for pride in the progress of the city in the way of manufacturies, railroads, commercial enterprises, etc., he would say that knowledge was the most important of all pursuits, for it moves the machinery of the world.  It is God’s power to man’s intelligense [sic].  He said I am anxious to excite you in 10,000 ways to aid this medical college and make it an institution commensurate with the size and importance of the city.

He then extended greeting to the graduates and admitted them into the fellowship of the profession.  Like the fabled wolf’s single whelp, though but one it was nevertheless a lion, so our graduates, though few in number, are lions in the profession.  The doctor allowed with many good suggestions from a professional point and told them what their experience would be and closed by expressing the hope that finally the would hear the welcome summons, “Come up higher.”

At this period of the program a number of very beautiful boquets [sic] were brought out and those who were so fortunate as to have their names attached were summoned to the stage to receive them.  Each blushing recipient was greeted with applause.

Then came the dispensation of honors, as follows:  A. E. Russell, of Tennessee, received the faculty medal; Mr. J. B. Parker, of Tennessee, received “honorable mention,” as also did Mr. J. Q. West.  Dr. T. M. Crowley, a second course student received a special medal.  All these gentlemen were of the medical department.

Of the dental department, J. W. Grant, of California, received the faculty medal.  M. K. Pennington received the junior medal.

Dr. Acree then stepped forward and pronounced the benediction.

After the audience had dispersed, the faculty, graduates and invited guests repaired to the New Schubert hotel where an elegant banquet had been spread.

At 10.15 the graduating class of the Tennessee medical college, the faculty, several leading physicians of the city and other invited guests to the number of seventy-five sat down to a banquet in the dining rooms of the New Schubert.

The table was arranged in the shape of the letter T.  At one end of the table sat Dr. Black, chairman presiding, Dr. J. C. Cawood, dean of the college and toast master of the occasion and Drs. Powers, Carpenter and Bright who were among the speakers of the evening.

The table was decorated with palms and lillies of the valley.  The service was almost perfect and the banquet was greatly enjoyed.  There were some dishes on the bill of fare, notably, salmon and Welsh rabbit, that the old and skillful physicians prescribe but once a year and they they [sic] try it on the new and unsuspecting M. Ds [sic].  The strongest drink served except the coffee was hot lemonade.

In accepting the post of toast-master Dr. Cawood said that he felt highly honored.

The first toast “Our Profession,” was responded to by Dr. F. B. Powers.

Dr. B. B. Cates, responded to the toast “The Maryville Contingent of our Profession,” in the course of which he spoke in the most glowing terms of the healthful ozone of loyal Blount.  Dr. J. G. Carpenter, of Kentucky, spoke of the “Ideal Doctor” who would be as hard to find in this man’s town as the ideal husband and Dr. F. A. McClintock, of Newcomb, Tenn., made the hit of the evening when he spoke to the toast of “Our Professors.”  “The Shadows and Sunshine of a Doctor’s Life” was the subject of a pretty little speech by Dr. C. P. McNabb and Dr. H. W. Bright made a hit in response to the toast “200 A. D.”

“The Relations of the Physician to the Dentist” was the subject of a toast responded to by Dr. R. N. Kesterson, and Dr. Grant spoke on “American Dentistry.”  Dr. Beach, of Clarksville, Tenn., also made a brief talk on dentistry.

Hon. W. L. Welcker, mayor of North Knoxville, responded to the toast “Corporations.”  In the course of his remarks he took issue with Dr. Powers who advised physicians to keep their patients at home instead of sending them north to be treated.

Olaf Oleson was the last speaker and the benediction was pronounced by Rev. Dr. Acree, pastor of the First Baptist church.

Source:  Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, March 27, 1895, page 4

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