THE next crisis that confronted he medical school occurred soon after the United States' entry into World War I, in April, 1917. Regardless of the rumbles and distractions of the war, by the summer of 1917 much had been accomplished toward the desired improvements in Los Angeles. The block of land, bounded by Michigan, Bailey, New Jersey, and Boyle streets, had been purchased and paid for; the dispensary had been completed, equipped, and occupied; the $60,000 fund for the hospital was mounting high; the girls' dormitory was practically completed; the boys' home was nearly ready for occupancy. Except for the war clouds on the horizon, the future had never seemed so auspicious for the College of Medical Evangelists. Even the matter of the rating was not pressing, as the concensus of many was that perhaps it was not necessary.
The relation of CME to the Government did not become acute until October of 1917. By July there was some concern over the drafting of medical students and because of recognition that the national program was threatening to hamper seriously the teaching of the forthcoming year. Strong efforts had been made to cooperate with the Government emergency by offering a special summer school devoted to first-aid and emergency nursing; volunteering to operate a base hospital in France; carrying out the work of the Food Commission. Dr. Sutherland and Dr. Magan had met personally with Herbert Hoover and his colaborers at Washington, and described the occasion in a letter to Dr. Evans.
The position of the denomination, requesting that the Government recognize Seventh-day Adventists as noncombatants, had been stated in a "memorial" drafted at the Spring Council in Huntsville, Alabama, in April. This had brought a flood of unfavorable criticism, especially after ex-President Theodore Roosevelt had come out with a strong article against conscientious objectors. But CME together with other medical schools throughout the nation, came up to the opening of school in the fall of 1917 still in uncertainty as to the draft status of its students. A telegram received August 31, from Dr. Franklin Martin, member of the Advisory Commission of the National Defense, stated: "A regulation providing for exemption o£ interns and medical students authorized by President; details by mail." This was encouraging, but lent a false sense of security, since this was just a formal notice, and moreover, did not apply to C-grade schools.
School opened September 10, 1917, but by the end of the month thirteen of the medical students were called in the first draft and were not exempt. By October 14, six had already gone to American Lake. Dr. Magan, en route to attend a council at Madison, began pondering the situation in his berth, and couldn't sleep. From Albuquerque, New Mexico, he wired Dr. Evans suggesting that Dr. Evans wire Surgeon General Gorgas in Washington, asking if CME was included in the list of schools whose students would not be disturbed. Dr. Evans did so, and the answer came back from Dr. Gorgas on October 1, "Request discharge students your college disapproved." The reason for refusal was defined in a second telegram on October 3, by the statement; "College of Medical Evangelists not recognized by 50 per cent of the State examining boards."
Dr. Evans wired Dr. Magan immediately, asking him to go to Washington and interview personally the surgeon general. While Dr. Magan went on to Washington, Dr. Evans was active in Los Angeles. He talked with Dr. William R. Molony, president of the Board of Medical Examiners, who in turn wired Surgeon General Gorgas on October 2: "... It has been suggested that a possible reason is that the college is rated as Class C. The Board emphatically protests this rating and can certify that college is high grade in every particular and should be rated Class B." On the same day Dr. Molony wired Senator Hiram Johnson, urgently requesting that he wield his influence to secure for CME students the same consideration given to students of other medical schools.
Dr. Magan's Story—Saga of CME
Dr. Magan proceeded to Washington fully determined to "never let up until we get Government recognition." But he encountered obstacles at every step. Dr. Gorgas was out of Washington, and Dr. Victor Vaughn, who was handling the matter of the rating of medical schools, was also out of town. No one in the office could locate the telegram that Dr. Molony had sent. There was one redeeming factor in the experience—Dr. Magan found the brethren at the General Conference sympathetic and friendly in the dilemma. Dr. Magan's story of his experience on this occasion is part of the saga of CME. Students of twenty or more years ago all had the privilege of hearing him tell it in person. Here is a portion:
There is something about the experience of having the burden of a great crisis rolled upon you when you are all alone which drives you very close to God. I was on my way to save the only medical school in all the world which bore the name of God. Practically speaking, I knew not one soul there, not a man in the office of the surgeon general. I felt to pray the prayer of Martin Luther which had for years appealed to me:
"O Thou, my God! Do Thou, my God, stand by me against all the world's wisdom and reason. . . . For myself I would prefer to have peaceful days, and to be out of this turmoil. But Thine, O Lord, is the cause." . . .
From office to office and from one great man to another I went, but nowhere did I get a word of comfort. I remember one bitter cold day, with driving wind and snow, disheartened and not knowing what next to do, I left the office of the surgeon general and sat down on the stone curbing supporting the iron fence around the White House. There I sat and prayed, and there came into my mind some of the closing words in Solomon's great prayer at the dedication of the Temple—"and let these my words ... be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant." . . .
I remembered the prayers which so often fell from the lips of Ellen G. White, of John Burden, of many another soul who struggled to launch the school. I, too, had prayed and it came into my mind that prayers do not die when they leave our lips; they are "nigh unto the Lord our God day and night." I knew that the prayers offered long ago were still doing duty before the great white throne, and I was comforted.1
Since it would be impossible to see Dr. Vaughn in Washington, Dr. Magan decided to return to Chicago, where Dr. Vaughn and Dr. Franklin Martin were attending the Clinical Congress of Surgeons. He remembered Dr. George Hare of Fresno, California, the president of the American Academy of Medicine, who was a close friend of Dr. Vaughn, so he wired Dr. Evans to get in touch with Dr. Hare and urge him to accompany him to Chicago. Upon receiving this telegram, Dr. Evans left immediately for Fresno and found that Dr. Hare was much interested in the fate of the medical school and willing to wield his influence and accompany Dr. Evans to Chicago. Dr. Hare suggested that Dr. Evans prepare a statement showing the average grades obtained by students at the examinations for the years 1915, 1916, and 1917. "The Loma Linda group has improved each year and shows a very creditable record," he said. In fact, as it turned out, the prejudice toward the college was overcome by the splendid record of the students, one of CME's graduates having received the highest grade of any applicant at any examination during the entire year.2
Before leaving for Chicago, Dr. Hare and Dr. Evans called Dr. Charles B. Pinkham, secretary of the Board of Medical Examiners of the State of California, by telephone while the board was in session in Sacramento, and asked him to put a resolution before the board in an official form, recommending that CME should have an increase in rating. Dr. Pinkham responded to this and sent the following telegram on October 20, 1917: "Resolved, that the College of Medical Evangelists be considered by the Board of Medical Examiners of the State of California as deserving of a higher rating than Class-C institution as rated by the Council of Medical Education of the American Medical Association."
Dr. Evans, Dr. Magan, and Dr. Hare were able to see Dr. Colwell and others of the A.M.A. men in Chicago, but evidently did not see the elusive Dr. Vaughn, for when Dr. Evans wrote back to Loma Linda telling of their counsels in Chicago, he added that Dr. Magan and Dr. Hare had gone on to Washington to see Dr. Vaughn. Dr. Evans wrote Dr. Alfred Shryock on October 27, 1917: "Whether anything definite will be accomplished at this time for the release of the medical students we do not know, but hope for the best."
Tide Turned With A.M.A. and Government
On October 25 Dr. Percy Magan sent the following wire to Dr. Lillian Magan from Washington: "Tide has turned in our favor. Meeting with officers of the American Medical Association, who agree to recommend Government to recognize us and to release our men already gone. . . .Tell students we will win." On October 31 he wired that the Government officers had agreed to have Dr. Colwell visit the College of Medical Evangelists on November 10 with a view to raising the rating. "Impress on Drake to push the building [Drake was the contractor and builder]. Have Larson get dispensary in shape. Notify Loma Linda," he added.
Meanwhile the boys in camp were anxiously awaiting the outcome. Some of them were scheduled to sail for France in the near future. Dr. Magan had been keeping in touch with them and sending regular reports of progress being-made for their release, and on November 13 wrote them a long letter of encouragement, telling them that Dr. Colwell had visited the school and there was every indication that the
raise in rating would be granted. "We voted this morning to spend awhile every evening for the rest of this week, beginning tomorrow night, in seeking God and humbling our hearts that He may give us the victory, and I rather think that next Sabbath will be a special day of fasting and prayer in behalf of the school and of you poor lads who are away from us." A postscript was added to this letter, dated November 14. "Since writing the above, Dr. Colwell has notified us that our rating positively will be raised. ... we are rushing everything for you as fast as possible."
This tremendous victory called for an appropriate celebration at Loma Linda. New Year's Day, 1918, was appointed Jubilee Day, and invitations were sent to, all the doctors and their families on the Los Angeles and Loma Linda faculty, members of the Loma Linda church and their families, members of the surrounding churches, .including the faculties of the Glendale Sanitarium and Paradise Valley Sanitarium, and everyone else they could think of who had a special interest in the college. A free dinner was offered for students, nurses, and visiting physicians, and special guests.
The church was decorated with plants, ferns, flowers, and holly; the orchestra offered some "good triumphant pieces"; Miss Katherine Hansen sang, in her lovely contralto voice, "God Will Take Care of You" (by special request from Dr. Magan). Dr. Magan was master of ceremonies, and Elder John Burden had been asked to make "the big speech." All in all, it was a great occasion, a combination of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. And not the least thankful among the joyous crowd were the boys who had returned from camp (all but one), to continue their studies in the College of Medical Evangelists.
1 Percy T. Magan, "President's Report to the Constituency, January 28, 1940, at 10:00 a.m.3' Minutes of the Constituency, CME. '1940, pp. 12, 13.
2 "Report of the North American Division Medical Department," Harry W. Miller. Review and Herald, 95:19, May 9, 1918. p. 19.
(All letters referred to are in the correspondence file of Historical Records Office.)
(To be continued)