8-43 The Willoughby University of Lake Erie, Medical College, 1834-1847 / Willoughby Female Seminary, 1847-1856
Side A: The village of Chagrin, founded in 1798, changed its name in 1834 to honor Dr. Westel Willoughby, a pioneer medical educator. That same year, the Willoughby University of Lake Erie was chartered, and the Willoughby Medical College opened its doors, signaling the beginning of medical education in northern Ohio. The Medical College trained 160 doctors, educated in contemporary methods of medicine, anatomy, chemistry, and surgery. Financial struggles and public outcry against grave-robbing — which supplied cadavers for anatomy classes — hampered the college’s development. The movement of faculty to Cleveland and the transfer of the state charter to Columbus hastened the demise of the Medical College in 1847, and laid the foundation for the establishment of the medical schools of Case Western and Ohio State universities. (Continued on side two)
Side B: (Continued from side one) The Willoughby University of Lake Erie also pioneered higher education for women in Ohio. The Willoughby Female Seminary, patterned after Mount Holyoke in Massachusetts, offered a three-year course in mathematics, music, art, ancient and modern languages, and philosophy. The Female Seminary opened in 1847 at the vacated medical building and proved far more popular than its predecessor, enrolling 100 students its first year. The women’s college prospered until a fire destroyed its imposing three-story brick building in 1856. Painesville citizens were more successful than those of Willoughby in raising funds for rebuilding the school, and opened the Lake Erie Female Seminary, now known as Lake Erie College, in 1859.
Sponsors: Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, City of Willoughby, and The Ohio Historical Society