The founding of Georgetown's School of Medicine was the result of the progressive spirit of the University directors and professional rivalries of District of Columbia physicians. Some of the local doctors had monopolized the clinical facilities of the Washington Infirmary. Four of the excluded practitioners decided to improve their position by setting up a medical school and dispensary of their own. They asked Father James Ryder, the president of Georgetown College, to regard the new enterprise as the medical department of the Jesuit institution. The request was granted, and in May, 1851, the fledgling School opened its first classes.

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