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September 15, 2017

Namesakes - Harland G. Wood and Wood Building

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Variously called the West Wing, the School of Medicine, and the Mather Building, the Harland Goff Wood Building is the School of Medicine Building opened in 1924.

Harland G. Wood
Harland Goff Wood was born 9/2/1907 in Delavan, Minnesota, one of six children. He graduated from Macalester College in 1931 with a B.A. in Chemistry and received the Ph.D. in Bacteriological Chemistry from Iowa State College (later Iowa State University) in 1935. He married Mildred L. Davis in 1929 and they had 3 children.

Before beginning his tenure at Western Reserve University (WRU) in 1946, he was a Fellow for the National Research Council at the University of Wisconsin, Instructor and Assistant Professor of Bacteriology at Iowa State, and Associate Professor of Physiological Chemistry at the University of Minnesota. In 1946 Dean Joseph Wearn recruited Wood to the School of Medicine.

Wood came to the University as the head of the Biochemistry Department. He served as Dean of Science 1967-1969. In 1970 he was named University Professor and he retired with the title University Professor Emeritus effective 7/1/1978. At the time of mandatory retirement ages for faculty, the Board of Trustees voted to allow Wood to continue his work. He worked until his death, having an article accepted for publication on the day before his death on 9/12/1991.

As a graduate student he discovered that carbon dioxide was used by bacteria and animals, including humans. “This discovery helped to change the current scientific thinking and led to the eventual understanding of the essential unity of metabolic processes in almost all living tissues.” Wood continued his research on how carbon dioxide was incorporated into the body, “tracing pathways of metabolism and discovering whole new enzymes in the process. His findings had far-reaching implications for understanding cell biology and for the treatment and cure of metabolic diseases.” He was one of the first to use radioisotopes to view the workings of a cell.

In addition to his research work, and leadership as chair of the Biochemistry Department, he was an important figure in the Medical School’s new curriculum introduced in 1952. He was chair of the Phase 1 Committee. As Greer Williams wrote in his book, Western Reserve’s Experiment in Medical Education and Its Outcome, “In retrospect, it is a open question whether curriculum revision would ever have gone beyond the talking stage if he had not called his fifteen committeemen...together in May 1951 and told them they were going to have a long, hard summer. The CME [Committee on Medical Education] could not have found a better man to lead the charge. Wood was not a CME member and did not speak for the Dean; he was pure faculty.”

Wood was involved in many professional activities, serving as president of the American Society of Biological Chemistry and secretary general of the International Union of Biochemistry. He served on many editorial boards of professional journals. He was a member of the President’s Scientific Advisory Committee, Atomic Energy Commission Advisory Committee for Biology and Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Sciences. Wood was a Fulbright Scholar in Australia and New Zealand and a Commonwealth Fellow in Germany. He received many awards and several honorary degrees, receiving the honorary doctor of science from CWRU at the 1991 commencement ceremony.

Special symposia were held on the occasions of Harland Wood’s 70th and 80th birthdays. “A Symposium Honoring Harland Goff Wood” was held 9/9-9/10/1977 at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Opened by CWRU President Louis A. Toepfer with a welcome by Medical School Dean Frederick C. Robbins and past dean Joseph T. Wearn, convenors and speakers included Nobel laureates Carl F. Cori, Fritz Lipmann, Severo Ochoa, Arthur Kornberg, Feodor Lynen, and Konrad Bloch. Other convenors and speakers included Harry Rudney, Jerard Hurwitz, Donald R. Helinski, Paul Berg (who had yet to win the Nobel Prize), Harland Wood himself, and his brother Earl H. Wood. Held 10/22-10/23/1987, the Harland G. Wood 80th birthday party and Symposium again brought many distinguished scientists together. Seven Nobel Prize winners attended: Severo Ochoa, Arthur Kornberg, Paul Berg, H. Gobind Khorana, Konrad Bloch, David Baltimore, and Frederick C. Robbins. The Ohio Governor, Richard F. Celeste, and Cleveland Mayor George V. Voinovich sent laudatory proclamations and October 22 was declared Harland G. Wood Day.

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l-r: H. Gobind Khorana, Konrad Block, Richard Hanson, Harland Wood, Severo Ochoa, Arthur Kornberg, Paul Berg

Building
On 11/16/1992 the CWRU Board of Trustees Executive Committee voted unanimously to name the old Medical School building the Harland Goff Wood Building. This naming was not the result of a donation by Wood, his family, friends, or colleagues. It was to honor him as a great scientist and teacher.

Constructed 1922-1924, it was completed in 1924 and dedicated 10/9/1924. It was planned as part of the group of buildings known as the University Hospitals and Medical School of Western Reserve University. The Medical School building, the Power House (now the Medical Center Co.), and Animal Hospital were built first, followed by Lakeside Hospital, Babies & Chidren’s Hospital, Maternity Hospital, Hanna House, Institute of Pathology, Nurses Dormitory (Flora Mather House, Robb House, Harvey House, Lowman House), and Service Building. With the completion of the building, the Medical School moved to University Circle for the first time.

The building was used for instruction as well as research. It became known as the west wing of the Medical School after the completion of the Health Sciences Center in the late 1960s-early 1970s when Sears Tower and the East Wing (now the Robbins Building) were added to the Medical School complex. A Research Tower, added to the Wood Building, was dedicated 5/16/2003. Dr. Wood’s daughter, Louise Wood Conway, participated in the ceremony.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the use of the building after the completion of the new Health Education Campus now being built on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic.

Note: for a copy of the video of Harland Wood, Merton Utter, and Lester Krampitz (01:28:54 duration, 4.3 GB) discussing how they came to WRU and the beginning of the Biochemistry Department, contact the Archives.

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September 05, 2017

On This Day in CWRU History: September

Below is month three of our list of significant dates in CWRU’s history. We make no claims that the list is comprehensive and invite suggestions of other dates to include.

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Claud Foster Hall moved to its new location, 1968 (left); Mary Chisholm Painter Arch (right)

September 2
1970 CWRU held its last September commencement ceremony.
1971 The newly merged CWRU men’s cross-country team defeated Hiram College, 19-42.

September 4
1973 A wide area telephone service (WATS) line was installed for the first time at CWRU.
1985 New 10-megabit Ethernet network connected the computing systems of 4 CWRU facilities and helped link CWRU users to computing systems around the world. The network allowed remote log-in, file transfers, and electronic mail.

September 5
1969 The first issue of the CWRU student newspaper, The Observer, made its debut. Intended as an all-CWRU newspaper, its name was chosen by a contest in the spring of 1969. George O. Siekkinen won the contest and received a Polaroid camera from Wade Drug.

September 6
1888 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's Cleveland College for Women, renamed Flora Stone Mather College in 1931.
1973 CWRU Trustees approved Cleveland Landmarks status for Mary Chisholm Painter Memorial Gateway.
1988 A convocation was held to formally acknowledge the naming of the School of Applied Social Sciences in honor of the Mandel family.

September 7
1882 Western Reserve University welcomed undergraduates to the "First Academical Term" in its new University Circle home.
1957 Dedication ceremonies were held for the Nassau Astronomical Station in Montville, Ohio. The station was named for long-time Case Institute of Technology faculty member Jason J. Nassau.

September 8
1967 First commencement convocation of the newly federated CWRU was held.
1996 The Kelvin Smith Library was dedicated.

September 9
1969 CWRU opened its first co-ed dormitories at Andrews House, East House and Mather House.

September 12
1949 Case Institute of Technology held its first week long freshmen orientation.

September 13
1892 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's School of Dentistry.
1913 Flora Stone Mather Memorial Building was dedicated. It became the main administration building for Western Reserve University's Flora Stone Mather College, the undergraduate college for women.
1953 Western Reserve University's student dormitory Claud Foster Hall was dedicated.

September 14
1885 Case School of Applied Science classes met for the first time in University Circle in the old Case Main Building.
1994 Peter R. Musselman Quadrangle, bounded by Amasa Stone Chapel, Adelbert Hall, Eldred Hall, and the eastern edge of the Kent Smith Quadrangle, was dedicated. Musselman was University Vice President and Treasurer, 1969-1986.

September 15
1881 Case School of Applied Science began its first "regular course of study."
1995 Adelbert Hall was named a National Historic Chemical site. Edward Morley, a Western Reserve University faculty member, conducted experiments in Adelbert Hall between 1883 and 1894, which determined the atomic weight of oxygen and hydrogen.

September 16
1968 Students moved into Claud Foster Hall, the 3300-ton dormitory, which had recently been moved 100 yards east on Euclid Avenue from its location west of Thwing Center to a location east of Thwing Center.
1994 Dedication ceremonies for the Kent Hale Smith Engineering and Science Building were held.

September 17
1951 Western Reserve University became the first American university to offer regular university courses for credit in a combination of television broadcast and home study.
1952 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's School of Business.
1983 CWRU women's varsity cross country team ran its first meet, competing against Allegheny College.

September 18
1967 CWRU's first academic year began.

September 19
1916 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's School of Applied Social Sciences.
1960 Four women were part of the Case Institute of Technology's freshmen class, breaking an 80 year tradition of accepting men only. A few women had attended Case before 1960, but were exceptions to the men only rule.

September 20
1880 Following four years of discussion, negotiations, and debate, the Trustees, by a vote of 14-2, approved the removal of Western Reserve College to Cleveland from Hudson.

September 21
1995 The George S. Dively Building was dedicated.

September 22
1892 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's Franklin Thomas Backus School of Law.
1903 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's School of Library Science.

September 24
1963 Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for Western Reserve University's Adelbert I dormitory complex, consisting of Cutler, Hitchcock, Pierce and Storrs Houses, and Leutner Commons.

September 25
1923 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's School of Nursing.

September 26
1970 The new CWRU football team played its first game, losing to Allegheny College, 20-3. Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University fielded separate football teams for three seasons after the schools merged in 1967.
1984 Under coach Nancy Gray, CWRU women's varsity soccer team played its first match, losing to Oberlin College at home, 6-1.

September 29
1862 Company B of the 85th Ohio Volunteeer Infantry, raised from the students and faculty of Western Reserve College, was mustered out of the Union Army.
1917 Case School of Applied Science played Ohio State University in football for the final time, losing 49-0. Case played OSU 22 times between 1894 and 1917, compiling a record of 11 wins, 9 losses and 2 ties.
1925 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's Cleveland College.
1971 Under head coach Gerry Harbak, the newly merged CWRU men’s soccer team lost to John Carroll University, 1-0.

September 30
1903 The first issue of the Case Tech, the Case School of Applied Science student newspaper, was published.
1999 Cleveland Free-Net was discontinued. Free-Net, which originated at CWRU, was the nation's first free, open-access community computer system.

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“To Cleveland or Bust” student sentiment in the 1883 Reserve yearbook (left); Front page of the first issue of The Observer (right)

On This Day in CWRU HIstory: July
On This Day in CWRU HIstory: August

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