As we approach the end of 2021 and look ahead to 2022, we are proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus. Mark your calendars for a series of events throughout the new year which will culminate on Friday, Sept. 17, 2022, and Saturday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Duluth, Minnesota. The preliminary plans include informal gatherings in the Twin Ports on Friday night followed by Saturday campus tours, lunch, faculty connections and many walks down memory lane with fellow classmates. Watch for a Save the Date email coming soon. 

A brief history to kick off the celebration

This important milestone is marked by many turns in history as the Duluth campus became a beacon of medical education 49 years ago.

The Medical Education Program traces its genesis to 1966 when a group of concerned physicians and laymen organized in Duluth under the chairmanship of S.H. Boyer, MD. They began a program for the development of additional medical education facilities in the state of Minnesota. 

Charged with recommending appropriate priorities for the state’s next efforts in medical education, a special advisory panel of five medical school deans and two medical economists was organized. The 1967 session of the state legislature had established committees in both the house and senate to study the need for a second medical school as well as its location.

In April 1968, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents published a statement on medical education that proposed that a medical curriculum should be established in Duluth. In January 1969, the panel recommended overwhelmingly that Duluth become the site for a second medical school in Minnesota. A long-range planning analysis was prepared under the terms of an agreement on March 30, 1971 between the Regents and Medical Facilities Associates - General of Minneapolis. 

The medical school in Duluth opened in 1972 with 24 students followed by a new building, which opened in 1978. Approximately 26 years later, the medical school transitioned to single accreditation and affiliation with the U of M Medical School, Twin Cities in 2003-2004. 

The U of M Medical School, Duluth Campus currently caters to 65 first-year and 63 second-year medical school students who spend their third and fourth years on the Twin Cities campus and surrounding area. As of today, there are over 2,000 graduates. Of those graduates,  over half are pursuing family medicine, while just under half practice in a variety of other specialties. In the Twin Ports area, over 200 alumni are employed by local hospitals and clinics. In the state of Minnesota, over 1,000 alumni are healing, teaching, researching and continuing to showcase their specialized education. Throughout the United States and around the world, our alumni began next to Lake Superior and continue their great work in numerous settings. To better connect with alumni, an alumni board was created in 2021 to ensure that the voices and hopes of all graduates would guide alumni programming. The board consists of both Duluth and Twin Cities medical degree graduates. If you would like to join as a member, please email or

We look forward to celebrating this important milestone as we transition into 2022 together.