Medical schools, perhaps more than other institutions, seem to attract a succession of individuals of strong personality to their faculties. Some of these "characters" are remembered because of their warmth, generosity, and wisdom. Others are remembered for less endearing traits. Both types are commemorated in this book of the memoirs of Dr. Ed Holyoke. The author faithfully and very effectively served the Anatomy Department and the College through 50 years of dramatic changes and draws mainly from his own rich store of personal reminiscences to fashion this delightful book. At times only a thin disguise protects him from identification as the perpetrator of some of the more mischievous pranks.
Here is an account of student high spirits, practical jokes, and the antics of members of faculty, sometimes quaint, often amusing, occasionally outrageous. These memoirs paint vivid pictures of colorful individuals who walked the halls of a College of Medicine and University Hospital in days gone by, and whose ghosts, so it is reported, still haunt these same corridors.
The non-medical reader may ask, "Was medical school really like this?", or perhaps somewhat more ruefully, "Was the distinguished gentleman, who is now my trusted physician, once a student like those spotlighted in this text?" Alas, it may be so. However, in spite of the high spirits of student days, it remains true that the College of Medicine at the University of Nebraska has over the years more than adequately fulfilled its responsibility to train high-quality physicians for service to the community. Indeed, the boisterous good humor of college days almost certainly contributed to those qualities of character required in the physician. A physician's robust common sense, his sense of humor, his equanimity in facing stress, are amongst the ingredients necessary for his role as a comfortor of the sick and distressed, and as an adviser and supporter of those who face fear, loss or tragedy.
Books describing medical faculty and student life have always held a fascination, but to none more than the individuals who lived these times and experiences themselves. Undoubtedly, therefore, this book will create special interest and nostalgia in alumni of the College.
Richard Gordon pulled back the curtain on medical student education elsewhere, some years ago, with his "Doctor in the House" series of publications. Dr. Ed Holyoke has done a similar superb job in drawing back the curtain in Nebraska to reveal the effervescent sub-culture which makes up the life of medical students and faculty.
Alastair M. Connell, M.D.
University of Nebraska College of Medicine
University of Nebraska Medical Center
History | Medical Education
Holyoke, Edward A., "Golden Anniversary" (1980). Centennial Trilogy of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine. 2.