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W. Bruce Fye Center For the History of Medicine: Mayo Family Medical Diplomas


Dr. William Worrall Mayo spent his entire life learning about medicine, technology and people.  He apprenticed in medicine during his early years and continued to provide "on the job training" to his sons and other doctors.  His interest in medical education, research and above all patient care, created the cornerstones of the Mayo Clinic philosophy.

When his sons were old enough to attend Medical school, Dr. Mayo insisted that they attend different universities to get a broad medical education.  Will was sent to the University of Michigan, where he also found time to be a champion boxer; and Charlie was sent to Northwestern Medical College (now part of Northwestern University).  Both boys returned to Rochester to practice with their father.  Dr. Will excelled in surgery of the abdomen, while Dr. Charlie specialized in surgery of the head and neck.  Together the Mayo family built a strong practice and in 1919 created the Mayo Properties Association, later the Mayo Foundation, a not for profit entity that still runs the Mayo Clinic.

Out of this composite education we finally accept the idea that man does not live for himself alone but as an integral part of society. -William J. Mayo

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Guide/ Contents

These links serve as your quick guide through our exhibit.  Click on a link that interests you to find more information.  To return to the first page click the top tab titled "Mayo Family Travels" or look for the Back to Start link in the Introduction on every page.

International Travels
Argentina |  Australia and New Zealand |  Austria |  Belgium |  Brazil |  Canada |  Czekoslovakia [Czech Republic] |  Cuba |  Denmark |  Ecuador |  England |  Finland |  France |  Ireland |  Italy |  Mexico |  Peru |  Scotland |  Serbia |  Spain |  Sweden

Diplomas, Memberships, and Awards
Original Medical Diplomas |   United States Army Commendations and Awards |  Awards and Memberships from United States |  Awards and Memberships from International Organizations

Images courtesy of the W. Bruce Fye Center for the History of Medicine. For use permission, please contact Center staff.

Dr. William Worrall Mayo

Universitatis Missouriensis
[University of Missouri]
February 28, 1854

This certificate, awarded in 1854 by the Medical Department of the University of Missouri, was the second medical degree received by Dr. W. W. Mayo.  It was conferred for his work with John T. Hodgen, Professor of Anatomy at the school, which was a forerunner to Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.  Dr. Mayo’s first medical degree came from the Indiana Medical College in 1850.


Dr. William J. Mayo

Universitatis Reipublicae Michiganensium
[University of Michigan, Ann Arbor]
Gulielmum Jacobum Mayo
June 28, 1883

Dr. William Worrall Mayo wanted his  practice to be based in a broad and diverse foundation of medical knowledge.  To accomplish this he sent his sons to different medical schools.  Will was awarded his Doctor of Arts in Medicine from the University of Michigan after three years of study.  He also found time to be a champion boxer.

Dr. Charlie Mayo

Chicago Medical College, Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois
Charles Horace Mayo
March 27, 1888

To ensure that each young man would bring different perspectives to the practice, Dr. Mayo sent his sons to separate medical schools.  Charlie went to Chicago Medical College for his training.  He was fascinated by surgery and saw many of the great surgeons of his time practice at their clinics in the Chicago area.