Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Basketball fever

While the season for the Portland Trailblazers doesn't start for another two weeks, I had a sneak peek at another season and a different team: the 1945 University of Oregon Medical School Medics. I had stopped by the office of Jill Smith, Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations for the OHSU School of Medicine, on an unrelated errand when she pulled out a wonderful scrapbook created by the members of that team for their 50th class reunion.

Among the players that year was freshman Walt Reynolds, a great athlete who had played both in high school and for the University of Oregon as an undergraduate. Dr. Reynolds went on to graduate from the medical school in 1949, becoming the first African-American man to graduate from UOMS. Reynolds then joined Dr. DeNorval Unthank as one of only two African-American physicians in Portland. Active in the community as well as in his profession, Reynolds was named president of the Urban League of Portland in 1959; served as president of the medical staff at Emanuel Hospital; served as president of the School of Medicine Alumni Association; and worked with the SOM Dean on minority student recruitment.

Although we don't have the scrapbook here in Historical Collections & Archives, you can read about Dr. Reynolds elsewhere: his biography is used to illuminate the racial barriers in medicine in a book by Dr. Leonard Laster (second President of OHSU) called Life After Medical School. Check it out at the Main Library, or another library near you.

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