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About Rush Rush History
Rush Medical College and Presbyterian Hospital in 1890  
Rush Medical College and Presbyterian Hospital in 1890 

With a history spanning 175 years, Rush has been part of the Chicago landscape longer than any other health care institution in the city. In fact, Rush Medical College received its charter on March 2, 1837, two days before the city of Chicago was incorporated. Its founder, Daniel Brainard, MD, named the school in honor of Benjamin Rush, MD, the only physician with medical school training to sign the Declaration of Independence. Rush Medical College was the first medical school in Chicago, and one of the earliest in the Midwest.

The early Rush faculty, nationally recognized for its expertise, engaged in patient care, research and teaching, and was associated with a number of scientific developments and new clinical procedures. The Rush faculty established a teaching hospital, Presbyterian Hospital, with the support of local Presbyterian congregations in 1883. Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing was founded in 1903.

Rush Medical College was affiliated with the University of Chicago from 1898 to 1941. Following the end of this affiliation, Rush Medical College closed its doors in 1942.

Meanwhile, St. Luke’s Hospital, located on the 1400 blocks of South Michigan and Indiana avenues, was founded in 1864. The St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing was established in 1885. St. Luke’s merged with Presbyterian Hospital to form Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital in 1956. Their nursing schools also united to create the Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing.

In 1969, Rush Medical College reactivated its charter and merged with Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital to form Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center. Rush University, which now includes colleges of medicine, nursing, health sciences and research training, was established in 1972.

Our institution officially changed its name in September 2003 to Rush University Medical Center, to reflect the important role education and research play in its patient care mission.

Rush University Medical Center’s newest additions to its campus include the Tower, an innovative 376-bed hospital building, and the Orthopedic Building.

More information

  • Learn about the rich contributions to medicine of Rush alumni and faculty, visit the Rush Innovators page.
  • Learn about recent awards, honors and distinctions received by Rush, visit the Honors and Recognition home page.

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