100+ Years of Excellence

KCU has a long, rich history of osteopathic medicine. Founded in 1916 by George J. Conley, DO, KCU is the oldest medical school in Kansas City, Mo., and the largest medical school in Missouri.

In the early 2000s, we expanded our academic offerings to include the College of Biosciences. Today, we look forward to the next 100 years with a second location in Joplin, Mo., and emerging programs.

KCU-Kansas City’s Administration Building was a gift from the Alumni Association in 1979. Prior to KCU-Kansas City calling it home, the Administration Building was the original Children’s Mercy Hospital. While renovated in 2015, the building kept the original skylights for the hospital’s surgery room.  

Prior Kansas City locations for KCU-Kansas City include:

  • 7th and Wyandotte (1916)
  • 15th and Troost (1917)
  • 2105 Independence Avenue (1921)

Evolving with the times and what best reflected our programs, our name has changed throughout the years.

  • 1916 - The Kansas City College of Osteopathy and Surgery (KCCOS)
  • 1970 - The Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCCOM)
  • 1980 - University of Health Sciences (UHS)
  • 2004 - Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU)

Mamie E. Johnston, DO, became the first graduate from the Kansas City College of Osteopathy and Surgery, now KCU, in 1917. Dr. Johnston continued her education when the University instituted our new four-year curriculum, and graduated again with the class of 1918. 

Dr. Johnston became a fixture at the University. In 1919, she joined our faculty, teaching gynecology and pediatrics for 47 years. In 1940, the Johnston Hall science building opened, named in her honor. Retiring in 1981 at the age of 92, Dr. Johnston practiced osteopathic medicine for 64 years. She passed away on November 6, 1986.

KCU opened its second campus in Joplin, Missouri in 2017. KCU-Joplin is the first medical school to open in Missouri in nearly 50 years and it’s the only medical school in the Southwest region of the state. 

The campus building was once the city’s temporary hospital following a 2011 tornado. However, extensive renovations transformed the building into a state-of-the-art center for learning.

KCU-Joplin was made possible by our community partners, including Mercy Hospital Joplin, Freeman Health System, the City of Joplin and philanthropic leadership from the surrounding community.

Historical Highlights

Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences is home to the oldest medical school in Kansas City, Mo., and the largest in Missouri.

1916

The Kansas City College of Osteopathy and Surgery (KCCOS) is founded. George J. Conley, DO, becomes the college's first president. Classes begin in a building at 7th and Wyandotte.

1917

Mamie Johnston, a transfer student, becomes the first graduate. KCCOS moves to 15th and Troost.

1921

2105 Independence Avenue becomes the school's address.

1936

KCCOS opens Conley Hospital on Nov. 16, 1936, with 35 beds. It was the first undergraduate teaching hospital on the campus of an osteopathic college.

1940

Johnston Hall Science Building is dedicated.

1944

The 100-bed Wesley Hospital at 11th and Harrison is purchased, and Conley Hospital is converted to a maternity hospital.

1950

Dr. Joseph M. Peach is elected the College's second president.

1964

Dr. Richard Eby succeeds Dr. Joseph Peach as president.

1965

Dr. Richard Eby resigns and Dr. K.J. Davis, alumnus and dean of the College, becomes interim president.

1966

Dr. Eugene B. Powers is installed as the fifth president. The College celebrates its golden anniversary and becomes the largest osteopathic college in the United States.

1968

On the sudden death of Dr. Eugene B. Powers, Dr. K.J. Davis is again selected as interim president. Mazzacano Library opens. Dr. Rudolph S. Bremen becomes the sixth president.

1970

KCCOS becomes The Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCCOM).

1972

The Center for Health Sciences, later known as University Hospital, is opened.

1979

The new Administration Building, a gift from the Alumni Association, is occupied after extensive renovation, and 1750 Independence Avenue becomes the University's permanent address.

1980

The school's name becomes the University of Health Sciences.

1988

Dr. Elmer H. Whitten is inaugurated as the eighth president. University Hospital closes.

1991

John P. Perrin, JD, becomes the ninth president.

1994

Jack T. Weaver, DO, becomes the 10th president.

1995

Karen L. Pletz, JD, is installed as the University's 11th president.

1996

The Educational Pavilion, a four-story, state-of-the-art facility containing classrooms, a library, cafeteria, laboratories and faculty offices, is dedicated. Classes begin on the consolidated campus.

1998

The University receives its first five-year accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. 
UHS is one of eight leading medical schools, including Harvard and Vanderbilt, to receive a prestigious John Templeton Foundation Spirituality in Medicine Award.

1999

Alumni Hall is renamed Leonard Smith Hall. 
The University joins with seven other leading research institutions in forming the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute.

2000

Genesis 2000, a three-year curriculum revision project, is integrated into the first-year curriculum and provides case-based learning with earlier clinical opportunities. 
The Mary Lou Butterworth, DO, Alumni Center is completed. 
Campaign 2000, the University's first major capital campaign, is launched.

2001

UHS and Rockhurst University inaugurate a dual-degree DO-MBA in healthcare leadership program.

2002

The University receives its first national challenge grant of $500,000 from The Kresge Foundation.

2003

The University receives a second Spirituality in Medicine Award from the John Templeton Foundation. 
The Educational Pavilion is renamed the Darwin J. and Suzanne Strickland Education Pavilion. 
Campaign 2000 ends with more than $16 million in contributions.

2004

The University's name is changed to Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. 
The Paul W. and Mary L. Dybedal Center for Research opens.

2006

The College of Biosciences confers the first master of science in biomedical sciences degrees to 17 students. 
The Center for Clinical Competence opens, providing the first center in the region dedicated to human patient simulator and standardized patient programs. 

2007

KCU launches a dual-degree program offering students the opportunity to earn a doctor of osteopathic medicine and a master of arts in bioethics. 
The University officially opens Weaver Auditorium, a 1,500-seat auditorium named in honor of Jack T. Weaver, DO, Mary Weaver, Howard D. Weaver, DO, and Debra S. Albers, DO 
The Kesselheim Center for Clinical Competence is named in honor of Howard I. Kesselheim, DO, and his wife, Tina S. Kesselheim.

2008

KCU expands its bioethics degree offerings to include a one-year track and a part-time professional studies program for working adults. 
KCU relocates its primary care office, KCU Physician Associates, on the campus of St. Joseph's Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo. 

2009

The College of Biosciences confers the first masters of art in bioethics degrees to 24 students. KCU breaks ground on three new construction projects: a campus park and garden, the D'Angelo Library and a new student activities center.

2010

H. Danny Weaver, DO, becomes the University's 12th president.

2011

KCU celebrated the opening of two new campus facilities that would dramatically improve students' experiences, the Student Activities Center and the D'Angelo Library. KCU inaugurated H. Danny Weaver, DO, as 12th president during an investiture ceremony on Sept. 22, 2011.  

The Community Garden and Park opens, offering a park-like setting for employees and students to participate in collective gardening and harvest produce to donate to local charity initiatives.

2012

The cities of Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., respond to a request by KCU and issue a mayoral proclamation of Osteopathic Medicine Week during April 15-21. 
Score 1 for Health is officially incorporated into KCU and celebrates its 20th anniversary of providing free health screenings to urban schools in the Kansas City area.

2013

Marshall Walker, DO, is named as KCU's 13th president and chief executive officer, effective Jan. 1, 2013. The position is an interim one, until a national search for a permanent president is completed.

KCU begins the process of integrating tablet technology into the curriculum to increase sustainability efforts and provide students with a technological edge. As part of the effort, the University distributes Apple iPads and iPad minis to faculty and students.

Marc B. Hahn, DO, FAOCA, is named as KCU's 14th president and chief executive officer, effective July 1, 2013.

KCU unveils its Campus Master Plan, designed to identify facilities needs for the next 10 years. The aggressive plan includes remodeling some existing facilities and adding new buildings to the campus.

KCU partners with the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center, Missouri’s first Federally Qualified Health Center, to improve access to medical care in the Northeast Neighborhood they both call home. KCU’s faculty physicians join SURHC’s existing staff in October. In addition, the University announces partnerships with the KC Care Clinic, the largest historically free clinic in the United States, and Research Medical Center’s Goppert-Trinity Family Care Center.

2014

Officials announce the addition of a military track to the College of Osteopathic Medicine curriculum, making KCU only the third medical school in the United States to offer specialized training for military students.

On May 17, KCU celebrates the 10,000th graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

In July, KCU celebrates the opening of the new Academic Center. The Academic Center, which sits adjacent to both the D’Angelo Library and the Student Activities Center, houses two large lecture halls, as well as breakout rooms for smaller study groups. By renovating the former Weaver Auditorium space, the Academic Center cost KCU approximately half of what a newly constructed building would have.

In the fall, KCU closes the historic Administration Building for renovations. Built in 1916 as the original Children’s Mercy Hospital, the Administration Building was last renovated in the early 1970s and requires significant improvements to meet the needs of a state-of-the-art institution of higher education. In addition, a new Welcome Center will be added to the north side of the building, creating an inviting entry point for students, alumni and other guests. 

KCU receives a $1 million gift from the estate of the late William Geb, DO (COM ’50), one of the largest gifts in the University’s history.

2015

KCU and Missouri Southern State University partner to provide  and advanced medical acceptance program.

KCU-COM and Harris-Stowe State University execute an agreement to create a partnership that will enhance diversity in medical school and improve cultural competency for future physicians. 

Esteemed HIV researcher Len Calabrese, DO, joins KCU Board of Trustees.

KCU’s improvements to historic Northeast Neighborhood spur $30-million HUD grant. 

KCU purchases the Capri Motel to return land to green space. 

Marc B. Hahn, DO, invested as the 14th president. 

KCU announces plans to develop additional medical school campus in Joplin, Mo. 

The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU), the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) and the University of Kansas (KU) Medical Center proudly announce a research consortium among the three Kansas City-area institutions.  

KCU unveils refreshed brand identity. 

2016

KCU celebrates its centennial year.

The newly renovated Administration Building opens.

2017

KCU opens its second campus in Joplin, Mo. KCU-Joplin is the first medical school in Missouri in nearly 50 years and it's the only medical school in the Southwest region of the state.

Edward O'Connor, PhD, MBA, FACHE, becomes Executive Vice-President of Academic and Research Affairs, Provost and Chief Academic Officer.

The Class of 2018 ranks No. 1 in the nation for first-attempt pass rates on the COMLEX Level 1.