An exhibit honoring the life of Lois Taylor Ellison, M.D. is on display in the Greenblatt Library. Dr. Ellison passed away in April but she was one of the longest-serving faculty members in the history of Augusta University. Her affiliation with the university began in 1943 when she matriculated at the Medical College of Georgia. Her highest administrative faculty rank was provost, which she held from 1975 to 1984. At the time she was the highest ranking female in U.S. medical schools.
Shortly after marrying Dr. Robert Ellison (MCG Class of 1943) in 1945, and while she was still a medical student, Lois Ellison contracted pulmonary tuberculosis and took a medical leave of absence from 1945-1949. She returned to MCG and graduated with the Class of 1950. The Ellisons went on to rear a family of five sons.
Dr. Ellison continued her post-doctoral training in 1951 at MCG in Cardiopulmonary Physiology under Dr. William F. Hamilton as a research associate in the Department of Physiology. In 1956 she was appointed Assistant Research Professor in Physiology and as the Director of the Cardiopulmonary Laboratory at MCG. As her faculty status rose, she also received appointments Medicine, Surgery, and Graduate Studies. She was active in several voluntary health associations and served president at some time of the organizations, including the American Lung Association which awarded her its highest honor, the Will Ross Medal, in 1998.
After serving as provost, Dr. Ellison was appointed associate vice-president for planning for the MCG Hospital and Clinics. She oversaw the hospital’s expansion in the building of the Medical Office Building and the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. When she retired in 2000, Dr. Ellison was named Provost Emeritus. She also received the appointment of the medical historian in residence. In this capacity, she shared her love for the university and its history by writing a series of articles published as Moments in History.
As an alumnus of MCG, Dr. Ellison was very active in the Alumni Association and served as its first female president. The Drs. Robert and Lois Ellison Lectureship is held every Alumni Weekend. In 2011 the post-doctoral group of the Augusta University Department of Physiology established the Lois T. Ellison Lectureship in her honor.
At the time of her death at the age of 95, Dr. David Hess, dean of MCG, said, “Dr. Lois Ellison was the matriarch of the Medical College of Georgia. She was a pioneer as a woman in medicine and science, and was first in the heart of her medical school.”
The Lois Taylor Ellison, M.D. exhibit can be seen on the second floor (near the main staircase) of the Robert B. Greenblatt, M.D. Library until the end of September. The Library is grateful to the family of Dr. Ellison who have graciously loaned to us a few of her many awards, her MCG diploma, and a few of the photographs on display in this exhibit. For more information, contact Renée Sharrock at 706-721-3444.