John C. Rose, M.D.
(M’50, H’73) (1924-2013)
Dean of the Georgetown University School of Medicine:
1963-1973 and 1978-1979
In 1963, John Rose, at the age of 38, became one of the youngest deans of a U.S. medical school. He went on to lead the institution for 10 years through its greatest period of expansion, solidifying its reputation as an internationally recognized academic medical center. During his tenure as Dean, the school budget tripled, the student body doubled, the full-time faculty increased from 200 to 300, and a massive building program was completed.
Dr. Rose led the school in completion of the Preclinical Science Building, the Dahlgren Medical Library, and ultimately the modern Georgetown University Hospital with its revolutionary Concentrated Care Center, which was featured in Life magazine as the hospital of the future. “There have been gigantic people at Georgetown, and John Rose is one of them,” said Dr. Milton Corn, who succeeded Dr. Rose as Dean in 1979. Corn described him as “the single biggest architect of the modern Georgetown School of Medicine.”
Born December 13, 1924, in New York City, N.Y., at the age of 11 Rose was accepted into the inaugural class of the legendary High School of Music and Art, where he learned illustration, a skill he used as a scientist and teacher throughout his medical career. Too young for military service in 1940, he entered Fordham University, majoring in biology. He turned 18 his junior year and immediately enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He served as navigator of a B-24 that had to fly blind through valleys in the Alps to drop supplies to the French resistance partisans in Italy. He was awarded the Air Medal, and his unit was recognized with the highest French honor, the “Croix De Guerre,” by President De Gaulle. He continued his education under the G.I. Bill, receiving his bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in 1946, and graduating magna cum laude from Georgetown School of Medicine in 1950, in the last all-male class in the history of the school. In 1948, midway through medical school, he married his sweetheart, Dorothy Anne Donnelly, a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Nursing.
Following graduation, Dr. Rose entered a fellowship at the Washington VA Medical Center with Edward Freis, the Lasker Award-winning physician-scientist who cared for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The award cited Freis’ signal research on hypertension, which demonstrated the direct relationship between high blood pressure and risk of stroke, kidney damage, and congestive heart failure.
Also a pioneer in the field of interventional cardiology, Dr. Rose performed the first cardiac catheterization in the nation’s capital at the VA hospital and the first catheterizations at Georgetown University Hospital. His research helped establish the subsequent adoption of cardiac catheterization as a diagnostic procedure in clinical practice.
At the age of 34, Dr. Rose became chairman of the Department of Physiology at Georgetown University. He twice served as Dean of the School of Medicine, and in 1984 was named Associate Executive Vice President for Health Sciences at Georgetown University Medical Center. Rose, an internist and member of the Department of Medicine, later acquired board certification in family medicine. Under John Rose, the Special Masters program, the GEMS program, and key clinical teaching relationships at Fairfax were developed.
In 1962, Dr. Rose served as chief editor of “GP” journal, the magazine of the old American Academy of General Practice (AAGP). In 1971, AAGP became the American Academy of Family Physicians and its journal changed names as well – the “American Family Physician” (AFP) journal. Dr. Rose was editor for “GP” and “AFP” for 27 years, during which time he crafted AFP into its current, highly successful format.
Among his many awards, he received an honorary doctorate of science from Georgetown University, an honorary LL.D. from Mount St. Mary’s College, the 1964 Alumni Achievement Award from Fordham University, the 1988 Scientific Achievement Award from the American Hospital Association, and three prestigious awards from the Georgetown University Alumni Association — the John Carroll Award, the University Service Award, and the Centennial Award.