In the wake of the SF earthquake and fire, Dean Arnold D’Ancona, M.D. took over the direction of the first UC Hospital in spring of 1906, assuming the difficult task of managing the transfer of the basic sciences to the Berkeley campus as well as creating a functioning hospital out of a building originally designed for teaching. In so doing, he acted as liaison with the UC President and the Board of Regents and served as educational director, supply purchaser, construction supervisor, accountant, budget manager, and co-creator of the training school for nurses. In the space of a few months, he succeeded in engaging Regential support for the creation of a hospital, training school for nurses, a dental infirmary, a pharmacy dispensary and outpatient services at Parnassus. After several delays, doors opened for patients in April of 1907.
In 1913, when he became dean of the College of Medicine, Herbert Moffitt refused the task of hospital management, preferring to use his influence to lobby the Regents for reconsolidation of the Medical School’s in San Francisco. He busied himself planning a new configuration for the Parnassus campus and raising funds for a new UC Hospital, to be built expressly for the purpose of patient care and teaching. By this time, the Regents were convinced of the need for a professional hospital administrator and allocated a fulltime salary of $3,000 for this position. In 1915 H. T. Summersgill arrived to take on supervision of the hospital and training school. He came to California with impressive national credentials—he had been the administrator of Yale’s New Haven Hospital, and had subsequently supervised a large building program at Cincinnati General. During his four years of service at UC, he became intimately involved in governance of the training school for nurses as well as the hospital. In August of 1917, he presided over the opening of the grand new 225-bed UC Hospital, which had been erected by private donations from Dr. Moffitt’s successful fund drive.
In summer of 1918, Summersgill left to pursue war work, and Dr. William E. Musgrave was recruited to the position of hospital director. Dr. Musgrave was a local figure that had long experience with hospital administration and he continued to manage the Childrens’ Hospital and Nurses’ Training School along with the hospital at Parnassus. When Musgrave became superintendent, Dr. Louise Morrow, the director of the social service department of the Medical School, was named director of nursing for both the training school and hospital. During this time, the long-awaited seven-story Nurses Dormitory opened and the UC Training School settled into a stable and productive period, characterized by increasing student autonomy and self-government.
For a brief time after the First World War, a young Harvard resident named Willard Rappleye came to San Francisco from Massachusetts General, recruited to act as combined administrator and biochemist. He hoped to balance research and administrative duties, but was unable to carry such a heavy load. He resigned, sometime in 1921, citing difficulties with coordinating the university teaching and hospital work. Rappleye went on to Yale and Harvard, was dean of Columbia University college of Physicians and Surgeons from 1930-1958, and eventually served as President of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.
1922-1932: “Director of the University Hospital”
1933-1947 “Superintendent of the University Hospital”
In 1933 F. Stanley Durie became the superintendent of the University Hospital, UC’s first long-term professionally trained hospital administrator. He led the hospital and outpatient department through the difficult days of the Great Depression and the Second World War. In 1933 the Clinics Building was constructed at “minimal expenditure”, while giving employment to needy workmen. This new facility marked a bright spot in the 1930s and united the patient care activities of the affiliated colleges geographically in one facility. During Durie’s administration, planning and lobbying for extensive new medical facilities at Parnassus began. Already by spring of 1941, plans for Moffitt Hospital were drawn up and Supt. Durie anticipated groundbreaking within weeks. War intervened, however, and the process of planning Moffitt Hospital and medical sciences buildings was put on hold, to be revisited after the war emergency.
In 1947, William B. Hall succeeded F. Stanley Durie as hospital administrator, drawing upon his long career at UC Hospital. The postwar period brought changes in American medicine and a new emphasis on research redirected the original plans for the Parnassus Campus. In 1949, the UC Hospital was officially renamed “University of California Medical Center.” Plans were revised to include placement of research facilities in close connection with patient bedsides to facilitate clinical research. William Hall supervised the occupation of Moffitt Hospital, but died suddenly, in 1956, in the midst of campus transformation.
In 1956 William Hall’s assistant Harold Hixson took over, presiding over enormous changes in hospital administration, including the coming of Medicare in 1966. His experience under William Hall brought continuity to the top position, and he managed to maintain a calm, conservative persona through the social turmoil of the late 1960s.
1970-1999 “Administrator of the UCSF Medical Center”
In 1970, UCSF once again turned to outside candidates to recruit for the ever more challenging position of hospital administrator. In 1970 Robert “Bob” Derzon arrived to direct the medical center. He had formal graduate training in Business Administration and Hospital Administration, and had gained valuable experience working in the Municipal Hospital System in New York City under Mayor John Lindsey.
In 1977, when Bob Derzon was called by the Carter administration to become the first administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), William “Bill” Kerr became director of the UCSF Medical Center. Bill Kerr had a background in social work dealing with Chicago street gangs, and had trained in hospital administration at the University of Minnesota. He also completed a challenging residency with Bob Derzon in New York City.
Mark R. Laret currently services as Chief Executive Officer of the UCSF Medical Center.
Benjamin Ide Wheeler, Chairman, “ The Need of a University Hospital,” in The University Chronicle: An Official Record .Vol. v. No.3 (Berkeley: University of California Publications, October 1902).
Langley Porter, “University of California School of Medicine, 1925-1941”, typescript.
Oral History Interview with Robert “Bob” Derzon and William “Bill” Kerr, Interviewed by Nancy Rockafellar, September 2007, Mill Valley, CA.
Notes contributed by Marilyn Flood, author of Promise on Parnassus: The First Century of the UCSF School of Nursing. San Francisco: UCSF Nursing Press, 2007.
AR 24 School of Medicine Dean’s Correspondence
AR 24.1 School of Medicine, Dean. Committee Reports, 1917-57
AR 24.2 School of Medicine, Dean. Faculty Minutes, 1864-1958
AR 87-46 Campus History Materials, Dept. of History of Health Sciences