Throughout the rich history of the Yale University School of Medicine, several important themes have tended to recur. First and foremost among these themes has been the close relationship between the university and the medical school from its inception. Most medical schools in the United States were founded as private proprietary schools, which were subsequently subsumed by a university; Cooper Medical College, for example, became the Stanford University School of Medicine. The Medical Institution, in contrast, was founded by the Yale Corporation. As a result, the culture of Yale College fashioned the ethos of the medical school. Success in science was fostered from the beginning. Benjamin Silliman, who was appointed professor of chemistry and natural history in 1802, played a key role in the founding of the Medical Institution.
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