JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - East Tennessee State University's Quillen College of Medicine has been making an impact on our region for 40 years.
The Quillen College of Medicine has been a staple in the Johnson City community for many years.
On Wednesday, it celebrated its 40th anniversary. "It's quite a blessing to think of the accomplishments of the college over the last 40 years," says former ETSU president Paul Stanton.
Paul Stanton has worked at the college for 30 of its 40 years. He tells us construction for the college started in 1974, but it wouldn't be until 1978, when the first 24 students enrolled.
Now, it's grown to 72 students per year and has handed out 1,700 degrees over the years. "We're providing the physicians now and for the future that would not have been here without the school," says Stanton.
It was a struggle to bring the college to Johnson City. Stanton tells us it came down to one vote to overrule the governor's veto after he didn't want the college to come to Johnson City.
Medical student Michael Neblett tells us hearing the history makes him proud to be a part of the school. "Seeing the past, the present, and then hopefully looking forward to the future, it's an awesome moment," he told us.
We learned 50 percent of Quillen graduates have stayed here in Northeast Tennessee. "We're staying in this area, in our backyard, in our homes, and they give back to the community, who supports us through the entire journey that we go through while we're here," says medical student Daniel Gouger.
Gouger says the college provides a family environment for the students. "The people who are sitting next to you in an auditorium, these people are going to be treating the individuals that you can't," he said.
Meanwhile, Paul Stanton tells us it's amazing to see how far the college has come.
Johnson City Mayor Ralph Van Brocklin tells us the Quillen College of Medicine has made a big impact on ETSU and all of Johnson City.