Dr. George T. Harrell was the first and only person to serve as founding dean of two Colleges of Medicine. Initially serving as a consultant for the Medical Center Study (created by Dr. J. Hillis Miller to plan an integrated health center capable of responding to current and future health needs of the state of Florida) in the early 1950s, Dr. Harrell was offered the position of Dean in 1953. Upon the death of Dr. Miller, Dr. Harrell officially became dean in 1954. His planning process included not just the College of Medicine facilities but also the growth of the Health Center to include the teaching hospital, bringing the College of Pharmacy down from campus, the College of Public Health and Health Professions, and eventually Dentistry. The College of Medicine opened in 1956, along with the College of Nursing, the Health Science Center Library and the administrative unit for the Health Center.
Dr. Harrell left the University of Florida in 1964 to plan and found Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. There, he was able to create four entirely new departments- the Departments of Medical Humanities, Comparative Medicine, Behavioral Medicine, and Community Health and Family Medicine.
A skilled planner who had an exceptional ability to visualize and anticipate needs, Dr. Harrell published a book on planning health centers, and served as consultant for many new medical schools.