RUSH University Turns 50

Five decades of education, research and clinical excellence will be celebrated during the 2022-23 academic year
Exterior of building with Rush University sign visible between tree branches

RUSH University is celebrating its 50th anniversary during the 2022-23 academic year to honor five decades of education, research and clinical excellence.

Established in 1972, the University has deep roots in Chicago and a rich tradition of service. The University has continually evolved, raising the standard of education to better serve its community and improve health. University programs consistently rank among the best in the nation.

“The past contributions of so many talented faculty, students and staff deserve to be celebrated, because they have put us in position to continue to build on our legacy of innovation,” said Larry Goodman, MD, who served as president of RUSH University from 2002 to 2019 before moving back into the role on an interim basis this year.

Rich tradition

The University has grown significantly, expanding from one college and fewer than 100 students to four colleges and an all-time high of 2,894 students in 2022. The University consists of RUSH Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences and the Graduate College.

The beginning of health care education at RUSH dates back to 1837, when RUSH Medical College was chartered by the Illinois state legislature just two days before the city of Chicago was incorporated. In 1885, the first predecessor of the College of Nursing, the St. Luke’s Hospital Training School of Nurses, opened.

The University is an essential part of RUSH University System for Health. With an exclusive focus on the health sciences, the University shares a campus with Rush University Medical Center, allowing for the unique integration of patient care, research, education and community service.

Looking ahead

The University is poised to build on its momentum. To develop the next generation of health care professionals and scientists, the University continues to foster and expand partnerships with organizations across the Chicago region, the nation and the world, including DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Jacksonville University, Malcolm X College and the University of Global Health Equity (Rwanda). Partnerships help to provide more learning, community service and research opportunities for university students, faculty and staff.

Research awards at the University have grown by 60% since 2019, and the total of $145 million in awards in fiscal year 2021 was a University record (a $54.5 million increase since 2019). Much of this growth is due to an increase in National Institutes of Health grant awards, which have risen by 40% since 2019, and efforts against COVID-19.

And community service efforts at the University remain as integral to its culture as ever. The RUSH community provides volunteer services to more than 10,000 community members annually. University programs across the city help provide health care to people in underserved communities, educate the community about healthy living and educate students in elementary school and high school about the wide range career opportunities in health sciences.

In May 2021, RUSH announced the RUSH BMO Institute for Health Equity. Launched with a $10 million lead donation from BMO Financial Group and supported by numerous other gifts and grants, the RUSH BMO Institute advances RUSH’s work to eliminate Chicago’s life expectancy gap with solutions spanning education and workforce development, community clinical practice, community engagement and health equity research.

Opportunities in community service, research and population health help develop well-rounded health care professionals and scientists at the University. While many universities across the country have experienced enrollment declines, RUSH University’s enrollment has consistently increased.

“We look forward to an exciting new era of growth,” Goodman said. “The efforts of our dedicated faculty and staff are helping the next generation of health care leaders thrive.”


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