A completely equipped gymnasium for the Medical School has been made possible by a $125,000 gift from Harold S. Vanderbilt '07, it has been announced by Dr Francis M. Rackemann, general secretary of the Medical School dormitory fund'.
This contribution is to be used to build a gymnasium into the general dormitory building, that is to be constructed for the school. Mr. Vanderbilt has also announced his willingness to make an annual gift for five years to pay for the services of a competent gymnasium instructor.
With this gift, the fund being raised reaches the sum of $743,000. The dormitory, which will house 250 students, will cost $1,223,863 leaving $480,865 still to be secured.
Of Unusual Design
The new gymnasium is to have a floor area of about 100 by 50 feet. It will be built under the west side of the dormitory, which so far has been reserved for a future addition. It will occupy the basement and the first floor. It will have a running track in the balcony which will be on a level with the ground. Entrances will lead directly on to the balcony, and thence by spiral staircases in the corners to the main floor of the gymnasium. The room will be large enough for basketball and also for setting up drill for a class of 125 men.
Marks New Era
Mr. Vanderbilt's gift, according to Dr. Rackemann, "marks a new era in medical education. It is a part of the general movement for the prevention rather than the cure of disease. The Greeks and the Romans depended on their gymnasiums and baths to keep them well, because these were their only preventive measures against disease. Hippocrates wrote that doctors ought to be taught how to take care of themselves so that they could better take care of others. This appreciation of the importance of physical culture, together with much other knowledge of great value, was lost during the middle ages, and the gift of Mr. Vanderbilt is the first step in modern times toward incorporating the experience of ancient centuries into the present day medical curriculum.
Will Aid Experiments
"Primarily our gymnasium is to be a demonstration of the value of exercise for the student who works hard. In connection with the department of physiology, it offers the means of securing information concerning the effects of exercise on the students, by properly planned experiments carried out by the students. The provision for a paid instructor makes it certain that these main functions will be carried out.
"Mr. Vanderbilt himself writes us as follows: 'I know of no better provision for the bodily health of the student than scientific physical culture exercise. There is to my mind a far more important consideration than the benefit that I am sure the student body residing in the dormitory would derive from such a form of prescribed daily exercise. From the best of teachers, personal experience of the good which it has done their own minds and bodies, the students would learn the benefit which would accrue to their future patients and mankind, by prescribing and encouraging exercises of a similar nature".