Notable Alums


Specialty: Internal Medicine

Graduation Year: 1881

Lucy Utter

Lucy Utter, M.D., was the second woman to earn a medical degree from the Michigan College of Medicine. Anna Rankin received her medical degree in 1881, followed by Dr. Utter in 1882. Both women had enrolled at MCM in 1880, but Rankin had already spent an academic year in medical school at the University of Michigan, and therefore was able to graduate a year earlier. Dr. Utter was married, had a son, and at some point before 1891 was widowed.

At the time that Utter and Rankin applied to medical school, the Michigan College of Medicine accepted women applicants. The Detroit Medical College did not. When MCM merged with DMC in 1885 and became the Detroit College of Medicine, the faculties and alumni of the two colleges became one. Students of both are considered alumni of the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Interestingly, following the merger, the new DCM adopted the practice of the old DMC and refused to accept women applicants. It would not be until the fall class of 1917 that the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery began accepting women applicants again.

Dr. Utter practiced in Detroit for 25 years before retiring. During her career she was vice president and resident physician at the Women’s Hospital and Children’s Home. She was a member of the Blackwell Society, a national medical society for women; the Wayne County Medical Society; the American Medical Association; and the Detroit Women’s Club. A 1891 Detroit News article described her as having a “cheerful and kindly manner.” Her obituary in the December 1920 issue of the Journal of the Michigan State Medical Society read, “Dr. Utter was very much of a lady and a very successful practitioner of Medicine.”