Notable Alums


Specialty: General Surgery

Graduation Year: 1890

Merritte Ireland

Merritte Ireland was born in Indiana, the son of a physician. He graduated from the Detroit College of Medicine with a medical degree in 1890. He spent the next year at Jefferson Medical College, where he again earned a medical degree in 1891. He immediately took an examination for the medical service of the U.S. Army and was commissioned an assistant surgeon in May 1891.

Dr. Ireland remained in the Army as a physician and had many assignments as he worked his way up through the ranks, including being stationed in the Philippine Islands.

In 1915, Lt. Col. Ireland was assigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Gen. John Pershing made use of the hospital center at the fort during his expedition into Mexico and became impressed with Dr. Ireland. When assembling his staff for the high command in France during WWI, Pershing chose Ireland for the position of chief surgeon, but the Surgeon General of the Army picked another physician for the position. Dr. Ireland was appointed his assistant.

Dr. Ireland became the chief surgeon for Pershing’s Expeditionary Forces on May 16, 1918. On Oct. 4, 1918, he was appointed Surgeon General of the U.S. Army with the rank of major general, a position he held until 1931.