Interviewee: Hazel Donegan
Interviewer: Nina Stoyan-Rosenzweig
Date: November 21, 2001
R: This is Nina Stoyan-Rosenzweig and I am interviewing Ms. Hazel Donegan at her
home in Gainesville on November 21, 2001. Ms. Donegan, I'll start out with just
the basic biographical information. Where were you born?
D: The big city of Waldo, Florida. I was never going to come back to Alachua
County to live after we [moved away].
R: When were you born?
R: Can you tell me anything about your family, your parents and what they did and
your siblings, if you had any?
D: My father was employed by the Seaboard Airline Railway and that was a big
junction in Waldo. My mother was born in Alachua County, Waldo. Her mother
was born in Bradford County. My sister and I were born in Waldo. My father, as
I said, worked with the Seaboard Airline Railway. They closed the shops there
and moved the operation to other parts of the state and we lived in about, I
guess, seven different towns in Florida. When things would go bad, they'd move
him to that spot and he'd get that area straightened out and then we would move
again. We lived from Tallahassee to Miami and back.
R: When did you first move? How old were you when you left Waldo?
D: I think I was around six.
R: I guess you had already started school. Was your schooling interrupted at
D: Yes, we'd stay six months [at] one place and then a year-and-a-half at another
and then another two years one other place. A year-and-a-half in Tallahassee,
then the longest period in which we did not move was [when we lived] in Miami.
That's when I went to part of junior high school, high school, [followed by two]
years in college at Tallahassee. I graduated [from] the University of North
Carolina [at Chapel Hill] for graduate school, [returned] to Jacksonville and
stayed there the longest period of time before I came to Gainesville to work.
R: What did you study in graduate school?
D: I continued with Spanish, [but] I had to take French as a minor. I planned to
minor in English but [this wasn't allowed], so [I changed my minor] to French.
Needless to say, I was absolutely ignorant of French, [having had only one year].
All the reading I had to do [was] found in the library in English. [It was] a rough
time at that [point, but] I enjoyed North Carolina very, very much.
R: Was this a master's degree or Ph.D.?
D: No, a master's.
R: Were you thinking then about teaching or what was your goal?
D: Never to teach. Never to teach. I planned to work, hopefully, as an interpreter
or something] along that line. My plans were to go to Puerto Rico after I
finished and investigate working down there so I could polish and increase my
vocabulary in Spanish. By that time, the war was looming and coming closer
and my parents said, no. I was glad [they] did because had I gone on, I would
never have gotten back to Florida until way after the end of the war.
R: What year did you finish your master's degree?
R: After that, you said you moved back to Florida to live in Jacksonville.
D: Yes I did. As I said, I did not want to teach. I took a business course [before] I
started working at the Riverside Hospital in Jacksonville for Dr. T. Z. Cason and
Dr. Webster Merrit, who was a native of Gainesville at that time. [It was a
fascinating job and] they allowed me to stay. I wasn't a very good secretary, I
don't think, [but working with two wonderful physicians and their patients was
R: It sounds like you didn't have training in typing or anything like that.
D: I typed a little bit along the way. I had very little training in that six or eight
months that I took the business course.
R: This was in 1941 that you started as a secretary for Dr. Cason and Dr. Merrit?
How did you then end up in Gainesville if they were in Jacksonville?
D: Dr. Cason and three or four other members of the Florida Medical Association -
Dr. Cason was sort of the spearhead wanted a medical school for Florida, [but]
there was a law on the statute that said [no] cadavers [could be used] in any way.
They were able to maneuver and convince the legislators to have that law
[removed]. After that, it was opened because Dr. Cason had been very
interested in post-graduate education for the physicians. Florida was a very
young community [and] state, in medical terms, technology. He had himself
gone out, and would go even after I knew him, to Chicago and to Boston, places
[for more] medical training and education [where] he would pay a doctor to allow
him to make rounds and to study with him, [such as] the first cardiograms. He
would read the cardiograms and the professor there or the head of the
department would go over [them] with him. He learned that way. He brought
the first metabolic-rate machine to Florida, had gone off for training. He studied
under the discoverers of insulin in Boston. He was a graduate of the University
of Florida. With the graduate school, he set up with their help, a graduate
department of medicine. That allowed him to get a little further along in trying to
hopefully develop the need for a college of medicine. [President of UF J. Hillis
Miller assisted him at that period of time.]
R: Do you remember the year that he started this graduate college of medicine?
D: I was in Denver. I'll have to think of that date for you.
R: Was it before, during, or after the war?
D: After World War II.
R: Do you know why Florida had the law about not using cadavers?
D: It was just an old law and I don't remember the details of why it was on the
books. After the graduate school of medicine [was established], he was able to
interest these very talented and innovative physicians throughout the country to
come down [to Florida]. He organized a two-week post-graduate seminar in
Jacksonville. He would entice these heads of departments and the two men that
he was so involved with in diabetes, which was his favorite [specialty]. He was
really well-trained in that, diabetes treatment and also cardiology. He was able
to attract these men down. He paid them a very small stipend, I think it was $75
and their travel expense. That's all they [received] out of it, but they liked to come
down to Florida. He would set them up at the George Washington Hotel in
Jacksonville, [where] they would come for maybe five days. He would have all
such areas taught, so to speak, for the practicing Floridian physicians. They
would come and they would choose one week that would be mostly medicine,
next week it would be mostly surgery and surgical subjects. The men would
come from around the state. This went on for a number of years. This was
under the auspices [of UF] after he got the post-graduate school of medicine set
R: That was after the war.
D: That was after the war, and I came back and went away for a year. [I returned]
from Denver, [where] I worked at the medical school, I came back from Denver in
1950. The post-graduate education had been going on for [a brief time then]. As
I say, I'm a little vague on the specific dates. [When UF post-graduate
Department of Medicine was established, it was the only one in the country that
operated without being affiliated with a medical school, a real distinction at that
time.] After that came about, he [assisted] Dean [George] Harrell, [who] had been
selected as the dean of the College of Medicine] here. After that, he was
involved with the dean working with physicians in the state.
R: Prior to him setting up this post-graduate department, was there nothing
available for physicians in Florida?
R: What would they do would they go out of the state for continuing education?
D: They didn't. That's what he felt. He felt there was a great need for continuing
education, [but] there was none in Florida. You would have to go elsewhere, [to]
Georgia, [or] wherever there was a medical school and [which] had
post-graduate departments. We had nothing, no undergraduate medical school
or graduate programs. He felt that without a medical school, the [doctors]
needed the opportunity [of added training]. As he was fond of saying, he went
out to the Panhandle, [when] the Florida Medical Association would have
meetings. He was talking to some of them, one doctor in particular and the man
said, I don't care, I don't need any of this fancy stuff; I give my patients castor oil
[and quinine] and that's all they need. It just incensed him and he came back
and made a reputation for himself by going around and telling all the doctors.
He said, then he went to the Women's Club's meetings. He'd be invited to
speak to them. He said, now, you ask your doctor, have you been to a graduate
training program or have you gone to a seminar in your field or anything in the
last five years? If they say no, change doctors. He became very "popular" with
the medical community[, needless to say]. [Laughter] He was a feisty[,
dedicated, compassionate person who loved people and learning]. He was
rather short. I guess he was about five [feet seven inches, and meticulous in his
dress]. Just like a little bantam rooster, he'd get hold of something and wouldn't
turn it loose, which was wonderful for the state. I wish I could remember the
other doctors' names that were on the committee with him. I don't know whether
he was the one that stirred everything or everybody else. I would think so. Dr.
Murphree from Gainesville was on his committee of the Florida Medical
Association. If you look [on the wall] in the lobby of the medical sciences
building, you will see a plaque. I think these five or six [names of the
committee are listed]. You can get the original committee members' names who
were instigating the change [in] the legislature and [who] worked diligently on
trying to get that bill passed so [Florida] could have a medical school.
R: It sounds as if he really was the one who stirred it all up.
D: He was a good stirrer and I was working for him. That way I got really interested
in medicine. His work was this, he was constantly talking to people. As I was
saying, when the medical school then was determined to be a coming attraction,
so to speak, and Gainesville was chosen, then Dean Harrell and Dr. Cason
worked very close together. One of the main reasons for that was that [in] so
many states, the medical school is isolated from the practicing physicians. They
don't get along. I worked at the medical school in Colorado. When I told them
what was being planned [for Florida], they said [that] the local physicians and the
state don't have anything to do with the medical school. This was one thing of
course Dean Harrell wanted to avoid and so did Dr. Cason. They worked real
hard and diligently trying to get the local physicians interested in the medical
school and [involved enough to] participatee. They set up a number of meetings
of potential faculty members for the med school and bring them to Jacksonville
[and the state to lecture and meet local physicians]. We would invite the local
physicians in Jacksonville who were really concerned [that] all [their] patients
were going to leave. [They would think,] we don't want it in Jacksonville because
we'll not have any patients; they'll all go to the med school. That was ridiculous,
[but] they thought that. He would bring in as many [as he could] from
surrounding areas. They had big names and people nobody had ever heard of.
They would come down and they would lecture to a gathering, a small group of
practicing physicians, just to see how they went over. Here they were already
teaching in medical schools all around the country, researchers [as well]. [Dean
Harrell] wanted to get the feel from the practicing physicians in the state. That
was, I'm sure, very helpful. They would entertain them, take them out to dinner
or someplace [interesting]. I know at the last minute no one could go but me, so
I [drove] three or four of them down to St. Augustine [where] we went to the
lovely old hotel there [for] dinner. I'll never forget that. I had all this money
[from the meeting and] dropped my [purse], [and the money went] everywhere.
Here all these renowned professors were down on the floor helping me pick up
all my money. I'll never forget that. I never would do it again unless
somebody [I knew] was certain to be there. I was having to be hostess to
people. I didn't even know how to pronounce their speciality. It was a lot of
fun[, most of the time].
R: Obviously, Dr. Cason was successful in getting people not only to take the law off
the books, but also to be amenable to a medical school. You've also described
his strategy, though, as being sort of confrontational. How was he able to charm
people or to convince them of the need for a medical school?
D: He just had a very strong personality and he certainly believed in what he was
preaching. I think that was it. He had enough of the doctors who appreciated
the need whether they could do anything about it or not. They could consider
R: You're saying that Florida was different in that it was trying to integrate the local
physicians into the medical school. I wonder if part of that reason was just
because his goals were so focused on this post-graduate education. It sounds
like he was less concerned with bringing medical students in than with making
sure physicians received continuing education.
D: He wanted the physicians in the state to be well-trained. He couldn't do
anything about the medical school training, that was not in his province. After
all, he'd been self-taught, in many instances post-graduately anyway. He had a
strong interest in having a medical school train the students well, so hopefully
they would remain in Florida. Florida was a very attractive state for physicians
throughout the country. The Florida Medical Association, long before this, had
put [a rule] into effect that, if a physician came down to practice in Florida, they
wouldn't come for [a] three-month holiday-type set-up and get patients, then go
off and leave them, to go back up North or out West. They didn't want these
roving physicians. They wanted somebody who was going to come and remain
so they could continue to take care of their patients. They instituted a law within
the Medical Association that they had to pass a state board exam to practice at
all in Florida. That made the northern physicians very unhappy. But by the
same token, they knew if these people were well-trained, because if they couldn't
pass the exam, then they didn't want them anyway. A lot of the doctors wouldn't
take the exam because they didn't want to be bothered. Therefore the
physicians who were in practice elsewhere would not come here and take the
exam unless they planned to stay. That's what the Medical Association wanted
to establish a permanent set-up for the patients and people in Florida, the
citizens, so they wouldn't just go from one [physician] to another and not have
any recourse when the [doctor] decided he wanted to go home.
R: Was Dr. Cason involved in selecting Dr. Harrell?
D: No. I don't think so. I don't remember that at all. He may have been asked,
but I'm not sure.
R: There had to have been some fund-raising activities, or some way to get
commitment for funding. Was that part of his effort or was he the idea man?
D: I don't remember anything about money. It was handled through the Florida
R: He was the one who really got the ball rolling.
D: Right. The doctors who would come up for the short courses would pay I think
$25 for a week or two weeks, however long they wanted to stay. A lot of them
couldn't afford to stay away from their own offices for two weeks at a time.
That's why the one week was set up for ped[iatric]s and medicine and related
specialities and then the second week would be for the surgeons and the
ophthalmologists and the ENT [earn, nose, throat] people, urologists maybe. I
don't remember now how many people, professors, we would have [during] those
two weeks. I remember they even did a procedure there on the second floor of
the hotel. I'd never seen anything like that before. It was relatively new. He
had people who were really outstanding in their fields. Like the Ochsner Clinic,
Dr. [Alton] Ochsner, he came several times. They would have a chance to meet
with them, maybe for cocktails and dinner, then they would have an informal
question-and-answer period. They'd have the professor all to themselves. This
[was] carried out and Dean Harrell did the same thing later on. He arranged
with the Caribbean cruise lines and had some medical seminars held on the
cruises, hopeful of getting the practicing physicians. I know there was a
seven-day cruise and a ten-day cruise. There was a longer cruise and I can't
remember I went on all of them, except for one. Anyway, they had speakers.
The first time, they had all departmental chairmen [as speakers]. You could take
your wife. Every other day, you were on an island and the faculty or the
participating physicians would get off the ship with their wives and they go
sight-seeing. The next day onboard the ship, the actual lectures and seminars
[would be offered] and then every evening they would meet down in one of the
lounges with the professors that [were] onboard. They would chat with them
and ask questions, maybe one would sit at one table, one would sit at another
table. Whoever was interested in that subject would go and sit there and if they
wanted a cocktail, they'd sit and visit and ask questions. [They could say,] I have
a patient with so-and-so, what do you think I should do? Do I need to refer him
or can I handle that case? Just get personal attention. It was supposed to
work out really well. Unfortunately, they finally had to cancel [the program] after
six or seven cruises.
R: Was there any particular reason for cancelling the program?
D: Didn't have the people who would sign up the doctors.
R: I guess they weren't trying to fill the whole ship.
D: Oh, heavens no, couldn't do that. It wasn't that large a group. It dwindled down
[to the point where it was not feasible to continue].
R: That's unfortunate because it does sound like an ideal way to get continuing
D: It would have been a perfect set up for the men, they could deduct this as an
official medical seminar. They go off to different places, they hold these things
in Hawaii, they hold them in France. A doctor would get the write-off. The
wives could go along, they pay the wives' [way] there and then they get the
write-off for their own expense. It was a very reasonable and very attractive.
The dean and all of us thought would work, but it just didn't.
R: Was that Dean Harrell's idea?
D: I think so.
R: You said you were in Denver, Colorado, working at a medical school there for a
year. What took you to Denver?
D: I wanted to get out of Jacksonville. I went down to 105 or 106 [pounds], working
during the war. I don't know that I had that much extra to do. It was just very
hard and tense. I think I was having some health problems that I'm not aware at
this point in time. All of us were pretty well worn-out.
R: What was it like in Jacksonville during the war? Did it directly affect you?
D: Well, no. Just the usual life, can't drive a car much because you can't get the
gasoline. You had coupons, can't buy shoes. That sort of thing. We had a
few submarine attacks right off the shore and there were patients, but Riverside
Hospital [was] a small hospital. I think around seventy-five beds, so we didn't
get an influx. I remember one or two occasions when they brought in specialty
patients. I know we had a couple of badly-burned people from the attacks there
along the coast. There was a shortage of physicians and a lot of people in the
general area would come to Riverside. I remember Dr. Cason was for the
state of Florida he was the president [of the American College of Medicine].
Once the doctor had gone all through his training as a physician and taken all his
boards in [for example,] internal medicine [or a specialty], then he was eligible for
a highly-specialized group of physicians who had passed everything that they
could in their speciality. Dr. Cason was the president or head of it for the state
of Florida, so he knew a lot of the people in New York through his association
and contacts throughout the AMA [American Medical Association] and all the
other associations. [Through his knowledge of] these people, he was able to get
the first penicillin for a patient here in Jacksonville, the first sulpha drugs. I
remember I went out to the airport and picked up some of this for a patient. It
was the first time that it had been used [outside of for service personnel]. It was
developed for the soldiers, but he was able to get some for a special patient. I
remember the place where [the patient] came from, it was MacClenny. He was
very, very seriously ill. Dr. Cason pulled a lot of strings and was able to get
sufficient medication for that one man. [It was flown in by plane during World War
R: I've heard when they first gave penicillin to people, that it was really a miraculous
D: Yes, very much so. When the sulpha drugs came out, a lot of the physicians
were not familiar with the problems. Dr. Cason and the other doctors there at
Riverside were getting [patients] that were overdosed. That was a problem
then, [with] kidney problems and failures, because the practicing physicians were
not fully aware of the dosage or [side effects]. A lot of that historical information,
I'm not qualified [to talk about]. There's a lot of [details] that I didn't understand.
I didn't know anything about it, I would pick it up as I went along. [Dr. Cason] was
the kind that taught. I would take all his notes for his physical exams and then
he would talk to me about it. He would teach me, in other words. I'd sit there
for hours, I felt. He was teaching me and I had to get out to do my work. He
was so enthralled with whatever [the problem was] that he would keep on. I felt
like I was an intern or a lowly medical student, one or the other. I didn't know
which, but I didn't have any background to be able to assimilate it very well. It
was interesting and I picked up an awful lot. It was tiresome, particularly when I
had all the typing to do, the phone to answer. Anyway, he was very much a
teacher in that. [In] getting these drugs for care of the patients, [he] was very
helpful because of his [up-to-date information of these new changes and the]
contacts and the people he knew. They had several [submarine] attacks
between Jacksonville and St. Augustine, in that general area.
R: You went to Denver and you were there for a year and you were glad to get away
from Jacksonville. What made you come back?
D: That's when the law had been changed in Tallahassee so they could start up the
medical school. There really wasn't anything out there for me. It was a long
way off. They were opening the college, the graduate school. I think it was
already going when I left. I can't remember the details. They had passed the
law in Tallahassee while I was away that year, so I had no contact in that. It was
then that they began to do the planning for the med school and working on that.
[Dr. Cason] was able to work it out so that I could work through the state Board of
Health on the graduate school program. [The State Board of Health was also
very interested in the process of acquiring medical education.]
R: Were you working for Dr. Cason then?
D: Yes, [as] he was the director, I [returned to] work for him then. It's been a long
time since I've tried to get it in sequence, but that was it.
R: Was that still in Jacksonville or were you now in Gainesville?
D: No, still in Jacksonville. [I] didn't move down here until the college of medicine
had [opened]. I was still working in the post-graduate area. Dean Harrell was
wanting to keep that going, so that we'd have seminars through the new medical
school, so that that would maybe interest the physicians in the state to attend. I
went down to Gainesville in 1957, the school opened its doors in 1956 and the
first class graduated in 1960.
R: As a secretary, were you coordinating the seminars?
D: Right. That's what I did.
R: At what point did you start actually working in the medical school?
D: We were positioned in a room opposite the dean's office in the med school. I
had planned to come and stay no more than three years. I had known Dr.
Harrell from almost the time he came down and started working with Dr. Cason
and having seminars for the practicing physicians. He was such a nice, kind man.
I really was very happy to be associated with him in any way as far as that was
concerned. Besides, he cured me. I had been sick for about nine or ten years
[with a fever of undetermined cause]. He was able to diagnose it, [when]
nobody else had. I felt [grateful] to him.
R: That's interesting. No one talks much about Dean Harrell as a physician, they
just talk about his ability as an administrator.
D: Believe me, he was tops. One of the former students I was talking to this last
weekend was saying he went to one of the we called it Perry Mason shows -
but they would have a patient that they didn't know what was wrong, they would
bring him before the students and faculty and they'd try to work it out. It's a very
familiar name. He got in on one of the sessions and Dean Harrell was there.
He said before they even had a chance to wrap it up, he already knew what the
answer was. He said, it was just amazing, he had never seen the patient. He
didn't know anything, but what they were saying. He never missed. He was a
diagnostician to be awed by. He was a wonderful physician and a researcher.
The Rocky Mountain spotted fever he diagnosed that, discovered what it was.
He worked out the treatment. It was one of the earliest, I think. Well, it was a
real big breakthrough for many, many people, particularly out west, in those
mountains. He was a wonderful diagnostician. Once the med school got
started, he didn't have much time to practice. He was so busy hiring faculty [and
seeking grants]. The first two or three years at least, every medical school
student that came, he interviewed them. He spoke to them at least twice a year
had a private meeting with each student at least twice a year and more often, I
guess, if they got into trouble, but I didn't hear about that too much, because I
wasn't working with the students at that time. [End side 1, tape A]
R: He then obviously didn't have the same amount of time to devote to practicing.
D: No, he was traveling a lot. He was out getting grants for the medical school.
Did a marvelous job of that, apparently. I [was not] in his office, but I knew
enough to know that he really did bring in the grants. He interviewed new
faculty. He could look at you and talk to you for two minutes, [and] he knew you.
He knew you through-in and through-out. I've never seen anybody quite like
him. After everything was going and the building was built, I said, if there was
ever a true Renaissance person, it was [him], because he had so many
[innovative] ideas. For many years after the school opened, the World Health
Organization would not let a country build a medical school until they had come
and visited Gainesville's medical school. Not only for the plan of it, but the
philosophy. You'd go down the hall and see people from Nigeria or Tangier or
people from out in the boonies, countries way out west, India, I don't remember
all the different places that they would come [from] to interview him and have him
talk to them and give them [his] philosophy. He was the kind of person that
would be standing in the hall, talking to these people, whoever they were, but
they were important. You would walk by [and] he would not stop what he was
saying, but he would look over and smile at you or acknowledge you in some
way. He wouldn't wink, he would just nod his head and smile and continue on.
He knew you were there and he let you know he did. That was the kind of
person he was, he was a true Southern gentleman and also a very
compassionate person. If you had any problems, he was the perfect one to go
and discuss [them with] and he would help you. I would go into report to him for
something and he was listening, but his mind was ahead of me. He knew what
I was going to say. He had this quarter of his mind going off on this problem, but
he was still listening, he knew exactly what you were going to say and he was
ahead of you.
R: It's interesting, I've heard other people who said the same thing about him.
They would talk to him and they'd have the sense maybe he's not really listening,
but he would know exactly. He could repeat verbatim what they'd said. Do you
think that his mind was so fast that he could think about multiple things at one
D: I would think so. I don't know how he had time in that twenty-four hours that he
would be able to think and to do all of that. You'd write him something and he'd
thank you and then you'd say, I do appreciate that. You'd get another thank you
note from him. He was absolutely outstanding and one of a kind. He really,
truly did love what he was doing. In a quiet way, he was very forceful and very
interested in everything and everyone. People laugh now, but in designing the
nurses' station, [he had] an area where they would have a room to change, he
would have a place for their extra pair of shoes, to measurement, so that they
could put their extra pair of shoes, because he said when your feet hurt, you
can't work very efficiently. He [also] had a room for that set up, a place for them,
[with their own special needs]. These [were a few of the] little details that he had
[designed]. He never missed a thing about what was going to happen or what
you were going to have to do and he tried to install it. One of the doctors would
say, yes, he knew everything. He just didn't bother to find a place for us to put
[For] the nurses, he had it down pat. In the building itself, he did a good
bit of architect[al design] so that the main supports were on the inside walls, it
would be the corridor, that wall, then the outer wall. All the dividing walls could
be taken out, moved around [to] change the size of the room [or] the shape of the
room. All the weight-bearing was on the inner walls and outer walls. That
allowed a [researcher] who had [his] research lab [designed to his needs]. You
couldn't move those main walls, but all the other walls could be torn out and put
up again and rearranged for that individual's needs. Things like that most
buildings are not adjustable.
R: What do you think made Dr. Harrell's philosophy distinctive? You mentioned the
World Health Organization making people from other nations come and learn
about it. How did he differ from other medical school deans?
D: [His plans for the buildings as well as his innovative design for the curriculum -
the first new approach in fifty years or more.] I think his compassion and the fact
that he wanted to make the patient first in the minds of the students and the
faculty. This is not case number twenty-two who has congestive heart failure.
This is Mr. Jones, age so-and-so from so-and-so, who has congestive heart
failure. It's [the] personal [approach he stressed]. He wanted the students to
treat the patient not as numbers and impersonally, but to make it all humane and
make them as comfortable as possible. I'm sure [he had] many, many more
[ideas] of greater depth than what I'm [saying].
R: When you moved to Gainesville, what was your daily routine like? Did that
change from when you were in Jacksonville?
D: It was very slow, because we didn't have much graduate education work at the
med school [in] the first couple of years, that's why I was ready to leave. [The
Dean] had a director, one of the faculty members [designated] to direct the
post-graduate. [If there was going to be] a seminar on urology, then I would work
with the chairman of urology and see what [the schedule] was going to be. Then
we'd [publish] the news to the physicians [in the state]. It was rather boring a
good bit of the time for me because I was [not] busy.
R: Would you send out mailings or telephone the physicians?
D: No. [We did] mailings. We didn't have the money to [call] particularly. No
e-mails, of course.
R: That's certainly changed things.
D: No electric typewriters, hardly, at first.
R: No computers.
D: No way, that's why I [returned much later]. I didn't want to learn the computer.
At least, that was a good excuse. We didn't have much to do, I didn't. [I
thought,] I've been here for two or three years and I'll leave and go back to
Jacksonville. Unfortunately, what I had had in mind didn't materialize. I
thought, well, I'm stuck here for awhile. Dr. Harrell had asked me several
different times [to stay and work with the students] and I said no. I think the third
time I gave in, because I didn't tell him that my options in Jacksonville had fallen
apart. He asked me to take over the student affairs office and work with the
medical students. He kept saying, Hazel, you'll be great doing that; I know
you're tired of this and I just don't want you to leave. I said, well, I thank you but
I don't want to stay in Gainesville. I swore I'd never come back to Alachua
County. Don't ever swear about something because you'll end up doing it, I
found. He said, I wish you would think about it. This went on for quite a while.
As I said, I was caught in a way. I was [delighted] later in life that I had been
[chosen to stay]. It turned out to be a wonderful job.
R: You said earlier that you never wanted to teach. Is that why you were reluctant
to take it in the first place?
D: No, I never was teaching. I never would have taught. I got my fill of practice
teaching in college and I didn't like it at all. My sister was a teacher, [but] I did
not want it [as a career, ever].
R: How was your work with the student affairs office different from teaching?
D: I didn't do anything about the teaching. We just took care of them. They would
come in [to] apply or write. We took them through my office and Dr. [Hugh] Hill's
office, of course. We took them from the application point all the way through
[the four years in school]. Their interviews [to] their acceptance or their
rejection. Then into the college of medicine as medical students and followed
them through their four years and graduat[ion]. [During the four years our office
handled exams, scheduling, internship matching, assisted in many activities for
and by the students as well as curriculum, catalogue, grades, graduation
ceremonies, etc.] Then tried to keep track of them when they went off for
internships. They would go to whatever state that they were going to, whether
for residencies or to practice. They'd have to be certified for licensure. We'd
have to certify that they were legitimately medical students here and had
graduated, so we kept up with them up to a certain point. There was one fellow
I remember in detail. He got out of medical school, did his internship and his
residency. In about two years we had all this paperwork to do for him because
he'd changed his specialty. He did that four times. I mean [a] complete switch.
Psychiatry was one of them, and it was medicine, then there were two others
that one would never have thought. I don't know where he ended, but this is the
sort of thing that went on in our office. We were in charge of the catalogue that
was published. That's where Lynn Fragloo was helpful to us early on. In
addition to her other things, she would proof it and help get things together -
pictures and that sort of thing. We did the catalogue. We worked with the
faculty with the grading system and the reports and their letters of performance,
as well as their letters of recommendation when they would apply for residency
and internships. It was a much more interesting [job]. Plus the fact that the
students were coming in all the time, [through] our office. They apparently have
rearranged it now and I'm sorry, but they don't go through the student office.
They have another area in which I'm sure it's probably just as good or better
R: It looks like they've split it up so that different offices do different things.
D: When I was there up until close to the end, the students in the Ph.D. programs
and the graduate areas were under us as well as the medical students. Not
under us, but associated with us. We had to keep track of their program, but
mainly the work was done by their own independent departments. All the M.D.
programs went through us. Now, even the medical students are not in and out
of the office I understand it, but rarely. We used to have fifteen or twenty of
them in the little lobby we had there in the office. It's so much nicer than it used
to be. For a long time, we had just one room. There were two secretaries and
me and then there was a little tiny room which was [for] Dr. Hill's office and then
a little [powder room] and another room which was supposedly set up for any
visiting physicians who wanted to relax for a few minutes before they had an
appointment. That [room] wasn't used [very much], so we moved Dr. Hill into
that. The [faculty] would come in, checking on grades, checking on what we do
R: They would come in to fill out forms and take care of other administrative tasks?
D: What am I going to do? The seniors were trying to get residencies and
internships and the first-year students were trying to do this, that and the other.
We were planning their faculty dinners and [events] for the first-year students.
Any and everything. Dr. Deal, when he was dean, was very nice and very sweet
[to us]. He was trying to get me a raise. Of course, you had to go through the
university and they had no idea what was going on down at the med school and
we didn't [have much contact except registration and financial aid]. Some young
fellow from the personnel office came down. I don't think he'd been there very
long. He said, now what do you do every day? I looked at him, I said, a little
bit of everything. [He said], just tell me what you do, start this morning. I said,
when I got here there were three or four students standing by the door. I said, hi
and before I could even get the door unlocked, they said, Ms. Donegan, will you
come unlock the men's room? I said, that started the day. I mean, you never
know. You do what you have to do at the time it's asked or needed. Open the
men's room for them. They got locked out of their carrel room where they
studied. The cleaning crew I guess locked the doors. I had to go unlock that,
then go in through to get to the men's room and unlock that. You just never knew
what was going to come up. You plan for graduation, you plan for honors
meetings. Any and everything that had to do with the students. Getting them
graduated, telling them where to go get their caps and gowns, giving rehearsals.
Do all that sort of thing. It varied and that's what made it so interesting, I think.
R: No day was the same as another.
D: Never, except when it was the day to get the catalogue together finally.
R: When did you move into the student affairs office?
D: As I said, I graduated medical school in 1967, that meant that I had started five
years prior to that. That was the first class that I had taken all the way from the
application all the way through graduation, so I told them I graduated with them in
1967. That was when I started with the students, [1963, inthe Student Affairs
R: Was Dr. Hill in the office then?
D: [Dr. Hill joined the faculty in 1959. In 1964,] Dean Harrell appointed him as
assistant dean for the students. He was class advisor for several of the classes.
We knew he was [near] because he has this very, very, loud, contagious
laughter. The students would come by, have you seen Dr. Hill? I'd say, no, I
haven't even heard him yet, he must be out delivering a patient. He isn't on the
first floor, anyway, or maybe even the second, because his laugh just permeated
the whole area. You couldn't help but giggle along with him. You didn't know
who he was talking to, what he was saying, but he was laughing. It was a
contagious laugh. It still is. [On his arrival, students gravitated to him. They
gave him "Teacher of the Year" award many times, as well as the Hippocratic
R: What was it like to work with him? Was he there pretty much throughout the
entire time you were there?
D: Yes, almost the entire time, [or available]. It was fun, I liked him. He was real
busy [with] teaching and OB/GYN [patients]. He said, 2:00 a.m. was always
[seemingly the] preferable time for the babies to [arrive]. [If a problem arose
which I had to settle but felt a bit uncomfortable about, I would tell him so he'd be
aware of my actions.] He'd say, okay. He was that way. He was on the run
quite a bit. Some days we would hardly see him at all. Other days he have
time to sit down and laugh with us. When he was [in the office], he was
interviewing students. He had a hard, rough job. Things happened all the time.
He knew a lot more of the problems the students had because they were very
comfortable with him. They said, don't call your mother, don't call your father,
don't call your priest, call Dr. Hill. He did, he got a couple of them out of jail,
odds and ends, whatever] happened. They broke the speed law or something.
You never knew what it was going to be. [When] very, very bad tragedies
happened, I'd track him down. I thought I'd never find him. They were trying to
get ahold of him or somebody in our office. I said, I'll get him. I wouldn't be
able to handle this. One of the boy's wife was driving home down 1-75 and she
was beheaded [in an accident]. I had to track him down and interrupt him. You
didn't call him at clinic time. He had two excellent nurses. There was always
something. Hopefully, I don't think that anything that tragic happened [again].
Parents and people who died, but not decapitated in a car wreck.
R: Let me ask you about some of the deans. Dr. Harrell left in 1964. Did the
medical school change with his leaving?
D: I think there's always a slight change, [with] anybody coming in different. They
have their own little ways of doing things. Since I was not working directly with
the dean, we did the student area. We were under the dean. When [Dr. Deal]
came here, they would have [a meeting] every Friday morning, Dr. Hill and the
associate dean and the dean and the chemistry program director who had the
undergraduate medical students under his wing before they entered medical
school officially. They would meet on Friday mornings and talk over the
problems. Later on, I was able to join that group on Fridays. We spent about a
hour discussing different [ideas] and problems [pertaining to the students]. That
was the only contact I had close to them. They all had their own way of handling
things. As I said, I was not privy to that. I was involved [only] to a small degree
with the function of the deans.
R: Some deans could have a different emphasis on education which could
potentially affect what you were doing.
D: They had several different changes in the curriculum which I may have
personally thought was silly, or approved or didn't approve of. But then, I'm no
educator. You work with what you're given. They thought it would work. A
couple of the changes that they made stayed, some of them went. I never went
to their faculty meetings. [That] wasn't my prerogative I had interest in it of
course, but it was none of my business. Therefore, I was not included and I was
just as glad because I had to work with these [faculty] and if I didn't know what I
didn't know, I couldn't have an opinion.
R: You didn't have to get involved in issues.
D: No, thank goodness. I always had an opinion on everything. One of the
associate deans said, Hazel, I thought we had medical selection committees
after every weekend [there were] interviews. Monday and Tuesday nights, the
committee would get together and talk about the ones that they had interviewed
and they'd vote on them. He said, I noticed you when they were talking about
so-and-so. He said, I don't think you liked him, did you? I said, how did you
know? He said, I just could tell by the way you looked. I said, good night. I
said, I don't like a lot of y'all's decisions. Not a lot, but a few. I said, I try always
to keep my face very frozen not to let on. [He said,] I could tell by your eyes, you
cut your eyes. I said, oh my gosh, I better be more careful. They would come
into my office and I would meet them first and send them off to their interviews
and tell them how to get there and that sort of thing. I got the chance to meet
most everyone that was interviewing. The faculty and the curriculum was
something that I knew nothing about. Dr. Hill had his own feelings about it and I
knew what they were, but I had no background for that.
R: You probably saw how it affected the students, whether they complained about it
or whether it seemed to be good.
D: Sure, they always complained about something. Any change is a complaint.
They don't know anything different, but then they may not always agree. They
don't know the difference, what had been made better and what had been made
worse, because they've never had it before. We had all the 1960s problems, the
people going out of the 1960s [who were] coming in. Some of them had
ponytails and some [had] long hair. One of our most interesting young men
would come in and I'd say, Joe what in the world did you do with your clothes?
Sleep in them? [He'd say,] oh no, they're clean. I throw them in the washer and
then put them back in the bag. He'd wash them, take them out of the washing
machine, dryer, and then put them in a bag. When he got ready to put on
something clean, he'd pull them out of that. Well, you know what that looked
like. So you never know. The personality of the dean, had a great deal to do
with the faculty, whether they liked him or liked what's going on. You would
sense it, but you weren't involved. Let's put it that way. Even if you disagreed,
you had no voice. If you had nothing to back it up, just keep your mouth shut.
R: How long were you in the student affairs office?
D: I left in 1984 and I started in .
R: Twenty-two years. Did the students change over time in terms of their interests,
D: [That varied from] class to class. Some of the classes were very united and they
all enjoyed each other and they worked well together. The next class you
couldn't get a single soul to work with anybody else much. They had cliques or
they had no clique at all. It just depended on the personality of the group.
R: Did that seem to be related to anything that was happening in the world?
D: The 1960s [students] were reacting to something, [they were] barefooted,
practically. They were serious in the medical sense, but they were free spirits,
which everybody on campus [was]. It was a delight to finally go through campus
and [say] gosh look, no long hair. All of a sudden it would dawn on you that
they'd changed. Of course, the medical students did not go quite that far.
Number one, a couple of the faculty members would not allow them. Particularly
in surgery, they said, you cannot wear long hair. You've got to wear a cap on it.
You just do not show up in surgery [with long hair]. There were guidelines that
they had to have because this was just plain necessary. When they put on their
white coats and got involved with patients, they began to clean up their act.
Those that were in that 1960s period when everything was as you wanted it,
whatever the 1960s were. I don't know if I'm telling you what you want to know.
R: This is fine, this is really interesting. Did students have a particular personality in
the 1970s or the 1980s? Were they less free-spirited than the students of the
D: I think every class had its own personality. As I said, I didn't think of them as
classes, I thought of them as individuals and students. We had very nice
experiences [on] Tuesday and Wednesday nights, we went to the Alumni Office
[which] took Dr. Hill and me to Stuart, [Florida] and then the next night to Ft.
Lauderdale. They had physicians who graduated, alumni, gather in the evening
to meet with us and visit. Just such a joy to see them. They had grown up,
really grown up.
R: They had become professionals.
D: Very much so. Some I didn't recognize, they changed so. I look in the mirror
and know I've changed. They've lost their hair, they've gotten fat or they've
grown their hair. They've just gotten older. Somehow I think men show their
age after a certain point, I don't know what it is, then others haven't changed a bit
and they're just themselves like they were in medical school. They said, Hazel,
do you remember all of us got kicked out because of my music? I said, I
remember. If you like jazz, there is a jazz magazine he and his wife started
that magazine when he was in medical school. He had been very involved in
this. All the great details I can't remember, but I do remember there was a lot of
controversy about whether he could do what he was doing and still pay attention
to his studies and all. He worked it out. [He had a] twin, also. He didn't get in
right away. He was two years behind his twin, who was in the music business.
I think his wife did all the business end of it, but he was in the creative end.
Things like this are just really interesting to dredge up. They have changed and
as I said, Dr. Hill could tell you which class was this and which class was that.
One graduation, I was [really] sick [with] the flu. But I couldn't stay home, I just
couldn't and I had to go to graduation. You try to line them up. They said,
where do I stand? I said, what's your last name? They say, Brown. I said, do
you know where Brown is in the alphabet? I said, stand in front of the Cs and
behind the As. You'll find your place. I said, you've got to know because you're
going to mess up everybody's diploma. You sort of had to mama them. I said, I
can't stay for the ceremony. I'm with you, but I have to get home to get back in
bed. [They said,] [you] can't go right yet, can't go right yet. I said, what's wrong?
[They said, we have] something for you. It was a round-trip ticket to Acapulco,
R: That's wonderful.
D: It was. They knew I wanted to travel and knew I was looking forward to it and
didn't have the money, of course, to do much of anything. Here they sent me to
R: Do you remember what class this was?
D: I can't. I have it written down, but I can't remember right off. It was in the early
1970s, I think.
R: Was there a class that gave you a ticket to Europe?
D: No, the Acapulco trip is the only one I have been given. My cousin wanted to go
to Guatemala. I said, I would like to go back to Mexico. I'd been just to the
Yucatan for a week. I would like to go to Guatemala, too. This was a first-class
ticket they gave me, so I cashed it in and extended it to Guatemala. She'd
never flown, so she flew with me. She said, don't say a word, I'm praying. In
fact, I was having Thanksgiving dinner with her son and she said, I am going to
pray the whole way. They laughed later, a couple years back, and said, you
really got mother into traveling. She went to Europe, she went to South
America. She went all these places. She went to China by herself. I said,
don't blame me. She was the one that wanted to go and I wanted to go too.
The [students] were wonderful to me and they were just as lovely as they could
be. I couldn't have chosen a nicer group of people. I could have been their
mom, they said. I was their mom, but their moms and daddies had raised them
right. By the time I got to them, they had the basics. They were most attractive
and very kind and sweet and nice.
R: Some of the other classes dedicated the yearbook to you.
D: Yes, I had the yearbook dedicated to me twice. Dr. Hill can tell you who was in
what class where and when and where they came from. All about it, where they
went to the residency. I just don't have that kind of memory. The first time they
really gave me the honor of the yearbook, they also presented me with a
beautiful Waterford pitcher. After that they would come in and ask Becky, who
worked with me at the time she and I were together for eleven years. When I
retired, she took over the office. They said, what can we get Ms. Donegan?
[Becky said,] she does like Waterford. So I'd get Waterford vases, a pitcher. It
was just lovely.
R: Would every class give you something?
D: Every class would do something and it was very kind. Some of them were poor,
which was all right. I didn't expect it. They were always very nice to express
their appreciation in some way or another plaques which I have hanging in the
hall back there, gifts. They were very generous and very kind. Of course, one
class had the Docs of Dixieland play concerts to raise money for the Donegan
scholarship, which I was very honored to have. It's still ongoing. Dr. Certa,
who you may not have known, died this last year. [He] said he couldn't decide
when he was growing up whether he was going to go into medicine or be a
classical pianist. He said, I figured it out, I couldn't make much money playing
the piano, so I better go into medicine, and he did. He and some of the faculty
got together and had a jazz group going, because he was so musically inclined
and talented. Dr. Bingham played the piccolo or the clarinet. Different ones
[on] the medical school [faculty] and a couple from campus [who played]. They
had the Docs of Dixieland and [would] play for different community affairs. Dr.
Certa was class advisor [when] this particular class decided they would honor
me. I'm sure he suggested it. Up until about a year or two ago, whenever
they'd play for some group, they'd pay some money [into the fund]. I don't know
how much or anything. He would put it in the scholarship fund. [End of side 2,
R: Was he the one who started the Donegan scholarship fund?
D: The [students] wanted to do something [and] apparently had discussed it with
him. No one ever told me how it came about. He was having a concert at the
med school and they called me up on the stage. That's the first I knew about it.
R: That's wonderful. What year was that started?
D: I have it written down.
R: That scholarship continues?
R: How do they decide who gets it?
D: Dr. Hill and the Class President or a couple [of people] in the senior class. It's
for a junior medical student who had done exceptionally well. This money goes
to him [or her to] help defray expenses on internship trips. [The student] has to
go to different hospitals and interview [to decide] which ones he really likes. I
don't know what they're giving now. [They gave] $500 at one time, which
wouldn't get you very far, but it certainly would help. They started] off with one
scholarship and now I think they're giving two. I'm not sure how it's run. Dr. Hill
is involved with making the final decision, along with the senior class, who would
promote it. They'd sell tickets. The class members would sell tickets and they
would help with the advertising and they would con the faculty [into] buy[ing]
tickets. That sort of thing, to [get people to] come. Of course, everybody loved
to hear the Docs of Dixieland play. They played the same music every time and
I think the same pieces in sequence. They had a wonderful time. I remember
one year Dr. Certa said, we haven't had time to practice for the concert tonight,
but we're going to practice tonight. You couldn't tell the difference. He would
nod to one to take the solo part and they'd shake their head. You knew what
was going on. Then he'd go to the next one, and they'd say, okay. He would
be playing the piano and then they'd come in on their part. They'd be the
soloist. They would go through the different ones. It was a fun evening and all
the wives would sit up on the first couple of rows and cheer and clap. It was just
a family gathering, so to speak. Students were there. I remember my sister
and brother-in-law were here. I took them and they were enthralled with it.
They just thought it was wonderful particularly Dr. Certa, because he did the
whole thing as far as organization and everything. It was fun. It began to
phase out, because the students weren't involved very much in making the
preparations for it. I think they finally stopped having the Docs of Dixieland. I
don't really know why. It was after I left.
R: You left in 1984. Did you retire?
D: Yes. I was getting tired. I knew that I wasn't giving my best. I was just tired.
I thought, why keep on going, why wait until you're this age? I can't do anything
then. I'm so happy that I did retire so that I take some nice, long trips, because
there will come a time when  can't do it. I've reached that point now, that I
don't feel comfortable going off on long journeys. I would like to go back to
England and Ireland because I have relatives in Ireland. My peers are a little
older have already passed away. I have met their children, so there's still that
contact there. I decided that was going to be time to leave. These people who
love to work not me. My father would say, and Dr. Hill would say as well, born
lazy and suffered a relapse.
R: I don't know though, it sounds like your job kept you busy.
D: Yes, it did. More and more students are coming in. We started off with forty
[per class]. I didn't have anything much to do with them, very little, in fact. I
knew them because they worked with the internists that I was working with. I
would see them when they'd come in for him. I knew some of them before they
came to medical school. It was time. I was tired. [They said,] take a year off. I
said, once I leave, I'm gone. I don't think I'll ever get the momentum back. I'm
glad I did, although I miss the contact with the students and the faculty. They
were all so nice, [they] truly were.
R: Where did you go on your trips, other than to England and Ireland?
D: Went to Greece, and the islands, another trip back to Greece and Holland, to
Mittenwald, Germany, a couple of times. Took one of those grand tours, all the
way around. [I] had a friend who retired [and] went to England and stayed for
awhile. She planned to stay a year, but six months began to get even longer, so
she was ready to leave. I had promised her that I would come over on a
vacation. I did, but she was ready to come on home. We drove [to] the
southern part of England, which I had been to before and she had not seen. I
drove us around the southern part of England and then we flew over to Paris and
picked up a tour there and took the grand tour of Italy and Germany and all these
places [in between]. When we got back to England, she came on back home
and I flew over to Ireland to see my relatives again for a brief time. Much later a
friend of mine had always wanted to go to England, so she and I went over for
close to six weeks. That was right after I retired and Dr. Raffin kept saying,
when are you going? When are going? He wanted to know. He insisted I use
their gate house to the castle in Ireland. He said, nobody's going to be there
[for] a couple of months. There's no plan for anyone to show up. You take it
and stay as long as you want. My friend didn't want to go to Ireland. It turned
out she liked it very much. I thought, a week is plenty of time. He said, use the
car, it needs to be used. I thought, oh, happy day. So I drove in Ireland. We
were over there about six days and then flew back to England. [We spent] about
a week there and then came on home. The next long trip I took was to Japan,
China, Nepal, India, and someplace else in there somewhere. Of course, to
China and Hong Kong and Thailand. That was a six-weeks endurance [test]. I
said, I've always wanted to go someplace and just enjoy it. I thought I want to
see more than that. Once I went and I saw it, then if I could go, I would go back.
The first time I was not about to go to a foreign country not speaking the
language nor being that travel-savvy. It was a lot easier to go on a tour, which I
don't ever want to have to do again, but that's all right, because you can't just
take off. I couldn't. I'm not that bold or confident in my own abilities to do
things like that in a foreign country. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed a
lot of things. Mexico and Guatemala, a few things over here on this continent.
R: That sounds really exciting. It sounds like a lot of fun.
D: It was and I've enjoyed it tremendously. I would try to take two nice trips a year
there for awhile, and then one not quite so long. A six-week one almost did us
in. It was a long trip. The hours changed and you'd have to get up at 5:00 one
morning to get to the airport and you have to sit there and wait and wait. There
were many little disadvantages which wore me down.
R: That trip covered so much ground.
D: I really couldn't tell you much about the countries themselves, but what we saw
was indicative. You have an idea of what it's like and that's about all. The Taj
Mahal, I did get to see that and I really had always wanted to. Things like that.
[There was a] drought, [so] there was no water in the pond, which they say was
so impressive. The long pool, it was dry as a bone, but that's all right. Can't
have it all. It was fun, it truly was. I am most appreciative of the medical school
and the fact that they were always so very, very gracious and nice to me the
faculty and the deans and all. As I said, they were all different. If they had any
complaints, I never heard of it. A suggestion here or there, but it was always put
in a suggestion so that it didn't upset you in any way. If you were halfway smart,
you'd understand why they made it. You wouldn't have recognized that it was
any kind of a reprimand or anything like that. They're nice people and that was
what made the job so much easier.
R: Do you have contact with medical alumni? Do you hear from any of them or do
you see them?
D: I have occasionally. Of course, we have the alumni gathering every year in
September. I think it's going to be in September this year. The alumni office is
always very nice to ask me to come and join them. I do and I get to see the
students then. Some of the faculty I keep up with on a limited basis. They have
their families and I'm single, so that makes a big breach there, so I don't
participate in a lot of the functions that they do. I did for awhile, when I was
working, because it was something that was necessary, but pleasant. They had
about fifty-odd graduates. We had graduates there from the class of 1966 and
on up who showed up at our little gatherings on the west coast. They gathered
some in Tallahassee. I went up there. They had a nice group there that turned
out. Primarily to see [Dr. Hill], of course. Anyway, they're very nice and it's
interesting to see them and to have them interested enough to see you too and
visit. I do keep in touch with some, personally. Particularly the young woman
who has now retired from pediatrics I knew her and her mother prior to her
coming here and graduating in our first class.
R: Was that Jean Bennett?
D: No, this was Betty Drake. Her maiden name was Robinson. She moved to
Tampa and set up practice there after she'd gone up to New York with her
husband whom she met up there. They lived up in that area for awhile and then
came to Florida to practice in Tampa. I keep up with Betty, she spends the night
with me when she goes up to Jacksonville to visit her relatives. I go down there,
I did, and could drive down. I'm now limited to driving to the corner and back,
practically. There are a few others that I see on occasion. The best thing in the
world for staying in Gainesville, one of the best I think, is that so many of the
practicing physicians here graduated from our medical school and I knew them
before they even got out of medical school much less into their field of expertise.
My dermatologist, my internist, my surgeons, my orthopedist. You name it,
they've all been medical students. Hazel, what are you doing here? I said,
help. I knew where they stood in their class and only one of them were we
worried about and he's absolutely magnificent now. Anyway, it's been a real joy.
R: They take good care of you.
D: Perfect care. When I had a cardiac cath I asked if I could watch. He said, sure,
so he turned the mirror a little bit so I could see the catheter going in and all.
When we were in Denver, Dr. Snow was the first [physician-researcher] who had
done the cardiac cath. Maybe some others had done it, but he was doing it
experimentally in the area in which I was working. Later, I found out that he was
quite well-known, because he was one of the prime researchers in the cardiac
cath [field]. A friend of mine in Jacksonville's brother was Dr. Blaylock who
diagnosed the first blue baby, the [cardiac] problem that the babies had when
they turned blue. He'd been able to recognize that and [surgically correct the
defect.] I've had a lot of interesting contacts. Not directly perhaps, but with
people in the field of medicine. That's what kept me so interested in that field of
R: Do you have any thoughts about medicine in general or how it's changed over
D: I have been very fortunate, I've not been entwined with Medicare, HMOs [health
maintenance organizations], that sort of thing. I've been very fortunate in that,
but I know that has been a very big problem. My friend in Tampa said, I can't
stand it, Hazel. We had to get out of the HMO and [establish] our own [plan] in
Tampa that could handle it.
R: This is Jeannie Bennett?
D: Bennett. She would be up here every football game and every Homecoming. I
haven't seen her for awhile.
R: I'm supposed to interview her on the December 1, which is one of the games.
D: Oh good, yes, she'll be able to give you so much more information, because she
has been so close to the medical school, being one of the first three girls who
graduated in that 1960 class. Kay Gilmore, I can't remember her married name.
Betty Robinson Drake and Jeannie. She's a pediatrician as well and she's kept
up with all the functions of the med school and she'll be able to fill you in and give
you infinitely more important information. [She has been a strong supporter of the
school as well as financial support for students as well.] I've just been rambling
and I don't know if this is any interest to you or not.
R: It certainly is. You have actually given me a lot of information about the days
prior to the medical school's existence. A lot of the people who are at the
medical school really were brought in by Dr. Harrell, so they don't have any of the
background on the early years, which is very valuable. There were things you
told me about those early years that Dr. Harrell didn't really know.
D: Yes, he knew everything.
R: You were really there even before it came into existence.
D: So was he, in a way. I mean, he knew everything. I was talking so much about
Dr. Cason. I had a lot of this stuck away. I have more somewhere but I didn't
want to bother you with it. [Jo Suter was Dr. Harrell's first secretary throughout
the opening stages and planning days of the medical school. She was the
premier secretary who kept all the facts, figures, people, and plans in place as
well as the faculty, their demands and problems. All this she did with grace and
efficiency. Keeping up with Dr. Harrell was in itself a full-time job.]
R: I guess when did Dr. Cason leave the medical school?
D: He was a practicing physician, he never was in the medical school itself.
R: Does he stay in Jacksonville?
D: Yes, and I can't remember when he died, but that picture was taken in 1950, I
think. I can't see that well. I don't know if you can tell the date on any of that.
R: This is 1957, he's being honored with the chairmanship of a committee. That's
the post-graduate committee. This is his obituary.
D: There's not a date on that, I'm sorry. It is written down somewhere. I had been
here quite a while before he died. This is something that Dean Harrell wrote that
you might find some information that might be of interest to you.
R: This is sort of a synopsis, the college history from 1972. There's Dr. Seuter and
Dr. Hill. This is wonderful.
D: Do you want to take this file? I would like it back.
R: I'll take it and photocopy it and then get it back to you.
D: If there's any of that in there you would like to have, you can look through though
and select what you think might be of interest to you.
R: I would definitely like to get photocopies or to scan in some of the photos into the
D: I've got a hoard but I don't know where it is. I've been trying to clean out my little
file and I have so much mess. I was so disgusted with trying to push everything
in. I didn't like to file when I was working. I had stacks. I didn't want anybody
to bother it. I knew which stack I would have put it in. It's so much easier than
getting down on your knees and pulling out drawers and going through. I'm
afraid that I'm not a neat person, especially with papers. I've got to get back in
there, but it won't be until after Christmas. If I find anything that I think maybe
would give you some more information, I will let you know.
R: I'm going to stop recording now. This is the end of the recording and this was
an interview with Hazel Donegan and it's November 21, 2001.
[End of interview]