A toast to 10 years: Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine celebrates a decade

Quinnipiac highlights the school’s impact in elegant and meaningful event

September 13, 2023

5 people smile in front of Frank Netter's illustration of a human skull and nervous system

With the call to raise a toast, the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine formally marked a decade of exceptional patient-centered education at its 10th Anniversary Symposium and Celebration on Wednesday, September 13. The event honored the legacy of the school’s namesake and highlighted its commitment to advance quality health care in the community.

Article Highlights

“As I reflect on Netter’s history, three themes emerge that I think define our first decade: generosity, creativity and humanity. I can’t think of a better foundation for a new medical school or a better set of characteristics to nurture in our medical students as they prepare to enter the profession of medicine,” said School of Medicine Dean Dr. Phillip Boiselle.

“While today's celebrations focused on the past decade, I'd be remiss if I didn't warn you to buckle up and get ready for an exciting ride in our second decade as we carry out our bold vision of painting a brighter and more equitable culture and future for all,” said Boiselle.

Special guest Francine Mary Netter delivered the keynote presentation with highlights from her published biographical work, Medicine’s Michelangelo. With her dad’s colorful illustrations as a backdrop, she used words as skillfully as her father used a brush to paint a picture of the life of Frank H. Netter for the alumni, students, faculty and special guests in attendance, including honored guest, Quinnipiac School of Medicine benefactor Barbara Netter.

“They called him ‘Medicine’s Michelangelo.’ They called him the ‘Dean of Medical Illustrations.’ And they called him ‘The Great Little Teacher.’ I called him daddy,” recalled Francine. “He had a large art studio in the family home, and I would go there with some regularity where we would talk about things that most fathers and daughters would talk about, but sometimes, he would tell me about the pictures he was working on like circulating blood and such. And with all these pictures, they told the story. And now, with his pictures, I’m going to tell you, his story.”

Francine led the audience through Frank’s personal history beginning with his influence by the early 1900s “golden age of illustrations,” through to his continued impact on today’s medical community.

Symposium honors Netter’s contributions

Honoring the field of medical illustrations in the promotion of education, research, patient care and marketing, the daylong celebration also included a symposium of renowned medical illustrators, a juried art show, an evening reception, and remarks by Quinnipiac Provost Debra Liebowitz and Dr. Rocco Orlando, Hartford HealthCare senior vice president and chief academic officer.

As he spoke about Hartford HealthCare’s partnership with Quinnipiac, Orlando reflected on the shared commitment of both organizations to create stronger and healthier communities.

“This is really part of a broader relationship with the entire university, but today I really want to comment on just how impactful and meaningful our relationship is with the School of Medicine and how proud we are of what's been accomplished,” said Orlando. “Just seeing how much you've achieved in the last 10 years; I’m really looking forward to doing more together in the future. The entry of the first couple of classes of Netter into the clinical workforce and caring for our communities, well, it's a wonderful day, a great celebration, and we offer our deepest congratulations.” 

The distinguished panel of speakers who shared their insight and expertise on the field of medical illustrations, included Symposium Co-Chair Dr. François I. Luks, Dr. Katelyn Norman, Dr. Michael Natter, Vinald “Vinnie” Francis, Karen Boucher, Ni-ka Ford and Symposium Co-Chair Ian Suk.

The symposium also featured a juried art exhibit of medical illustrations submitted in two artist categories, professional and student. The art exhibit was planned in partnership with the Association of Medical Illustrators, with artwork on display and winners announced during the symposium.

“Today’s symposium honors the legacy of our namesake, Dr. Frank H. Netter,” said Boiselle. “His renowned anatomical illustrations and paintings were crafted with a striking degree of humanity and empathy. They have inspired generations of health care professionals and illustrators.”

As both a doctor and artist, Frank Netter grasped the most complex medical concepts and made drawings to make those concepts clearer. His award-winning Atlas of Human Anatomy in its eighth edition is still the bestselling anatomy atlas in the world. Today, medical illustrators are answering a growing need for patients to better understand their state of health by producing information for the public as well as the medical community. Several original pieces of Dr. Frank H. Netter’s works, on loan courtesy of Novartis, will remain on display on the North Haven Campus through October for the public to enjoy.

QU Netter 10th Anniversary Juried Art Exhibit Award Winners
Professional Artist Category:

  • Honorable Mention: Eva Mae Natividad Baucom, Vitiligo Informational Poster
  • Honorable Mention: James Perkins, VEGF in Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration
  • 3rd Place: Kristen Larson Keil, Patient Presentation: Inferior Peduncular Pontine Cavernoma
  • 2nd Place: I-Hsun Wu, Distribution of the Segment of the Maxillary Artery and Open-Heart Surgery
  • Best in Show: Jennifer Fairman, Allergic Rhinitis

Student Award Winners:

  • 3rd Place: Paulina Naser-Saravia, MD Candidate 2026, astrocardiomyocyte
  • 2nd Place: Edison Tenecela, MD Candidate 2026, Rendezvous with the Senses, a Brainstem’s Journey
  • Best in Show: Kallie Fellows, MD Candidate 2026, Perspective

A decade of collaboration and impact

On September 12, 2013, the medical school welcomed its inaugural class of 60 students. Today, the School of Medicine’s first-year classes enroll 95 students with a total enrollment of approximately 380 students. Demand for the program is competitive with 8,000 applicants vying for admissions in 2023. As of May 12, 2023, more than 600 Quinnipiac School of Medicine alumni have joined the medical profession working to improve patient care, change public policy, and advance the values of diversity and inclusion.

During her address, Provost Liebowitz reflected on the School of Medicine’s contributions to Quinnipiac University and its impact on all students beyond the medical school through transformative healthcare collaborations.

“Almost 40% of our undergraduate students are in the health sciences and at the graduate level in the university, we are slightly over 50% of students in the health sciences… And there are almost none like us that have had the vision to bring together a School of Medicine with the School of Health Sciences and a School of Nursing all in one place,” said Liebowitz.

“That grouping of academic curriculum and opportunities for students… has just transformed what we do in the health sciences. The Netter School is so critical for that work, and so for that I thank all of your work and your leadership… in this first decade and into the future.”

One Million Reasons Scholarship campaign

The day concluded with a Celebratory Reception where Boiselle shared that the 10th anniversary One Million Reasons Scholarship campaign is narrowing in on its goal to raise $1 million to support the school’s mission of educating and nurturing future generations of diverse, compassionate and humanistic physicians.

As he concluded the evening with a champagne toast, Boiselle reminded the guests that the school’s success is grounded in the generosity of those who have given not only financially but through their time and talent for the future of health care education and advancements. 

In that spirit of generosity, the symposium and celebration was sponsored by Hartford HealthCare Connecticut Orthopedic Institute and Toltech, with funding applied toward the Million Reasons campaign to support student scholarships.

“Einstein famously said that curiosity is contagious and should be passed on. I believe this applies equally to generosity and thanks to your collective generosity, our goal of raising $1,000,000 in new scholarship funds is in clear sight, and we're extending our campaign by a month, not only to meet but to exceed this goal,” said Boiselle as he lifted his glass to the crowd “Please join me in a celebratory toast to our school spirit of generosity and to passing it on.”

Preserving history through a new podcast

To chronicle the first decade for future generations, the school has also created an oral history podcast series, "QU Netter: The First Decade," featuring interviews with 35 faculty, leaders and students answering the question, “What is your best memory of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine?” The community is invited to record their own tributes to be featured in upcoming episodes by visiting the podcast page to record a memory. Record a tribute for the podcast

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