Harrell with four students

George T. Harrell

George T. Harrell, founding dean of UF’s College of Medicine in 1956, was the first individual to organize and open two academic medical centers.

A pioneering planner who spent his career working in new medical schools, Harrell’s detailed plans looked at how physical designs affected patient well-being, staff behavior, student learning, and interdisciplinary research and instruction.

At UF, Harrell’s vision resulted in unique rural outreach clinics, a focus on humanities and humanism, and collaborative programs that bridged the different health sciences. Later, at Penn State, he created new and innovative departments that laid the groundwork for programs in medical humanities across the country. His primary focus was always medical education; his principal definition of a successful dean was one who put students first.