ARNOLD D'ANCONA (CA. 1862-1929)
Abraham Arnold D'Ancona (ca. 1862-1929) was born in San Francisco and received his undergraduate degree at UC in 1880, graduating from the Medical Department of the University of California with the Class of 1884. He was a close friend of classmate George H. Nuttall, and together they became interested in physiology. In 1887, Dr. D'Ancona became professor of physiology and microscopy at the Medical Department of UC. He was appointed to serve as dean in 1899, and worked consistently to improve instruction. Along with University President Benjamin Ide Wheeler, D'Ancona actively recruited the nationally known investigators Jacques Loeb, Joseph Martin Flint, and Alonzo E. Taylor as fulltime professors of physiology, anatomy, and pathology. Once these departments were established, he remained a supporter of the full-time system, lobbying the University to add paid professors to the clinical side of instruction. In 1903, he wrote to President Wheeler, "The greatest weakness in the Department [of Medicine] at present is that for instruction in the laboratory at the hospital, at the bedside in the hospital, and in medicine and surgery at the outpatient department we are dependent upon the gratuitous services of men actively engaged in the practice of medicine. It is evident that satisfactory work in these departments requires that the instructors should be absolutely regular in their attendance and give several hours consecutively to the service of the department...we can never have systematic or satisfactory work until we are able to pay small salaries to ambitious young practitioners." D'Ancona continued as dean through the difficult years of the 1906 earthquake and its aftermath, directing the conversion of the medical school building at Parnassus to a teaching hospital. In 1912 he resigned his post and became active on the San Francisco Board of Education. He died on April 18, 1929.