Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley approved renaming the school’s Holmes Society in honor of physician-scientist William Augustus Hinton, Class of 1905, the first Black tenured professor at Harvard.
HMS and Harvard School of Dental Medicine students are assigned to one of five academic societies upon entering the schools. Until now, the Holmes Society bore the name of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Class of 1829, a writer, physician, and former Dean of Harvard Medical School.
Holmes was one of the first American intellectuals to promote the racist doctrine of eugenics. In 1850, he revoked the acceptances of the Medical School’s first three Black students, writing that the “intermixing of the white and black races in their lecture rooms is distasteful to a large portion of the class and injurious to the interests of the school.”
Hinton — a 1905 graduate of the College and later HMS — specialized in