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Biography

Biography of Dr. Samuel Merritt

Dr. Samuel MerrittSamuel Merritt, M.D. was born in 1822 in Harpswell, Maine, and graduated from the Medical School of Maine at Bowdoin College. After practicing medicine in Plymouth, Massachusetts for three years, Dr. Merritt joined the great migration of 1849 to California. Here he made his fortune as a businessman and his reputation as one of the leading founders of the Bay Area.

When Dr. Merritt died 40 years later in 1890, the Oakland Tribune called him “the man most prominent in the establishment and building of the City of Oakland.” He had touched every aspect of public life here, serving as the 13th Mayor of Oakland, and one of the original Regents of the University of California. Dr. Merritt played a significant role in the creation of Lake Merritt and the construction of the Oakland Public Library and City Hall. As the first president of the Mountain View Cemetary, he continued to influence the architectural landscape of the city. Importantly, in his will he provided for the establishment of Samuel Merritt Hospital and the training school for nurses that have now evolved into Samuel Merritt University.

Dr. Merritt died before Samuel Merritt Hospital and its School were built, but his fortune and far thinking made the founding of the institution possible. Today the women and men who carry on his mission-as students, faculty, and staff-are looking ahead to the next 100 years. The transformation of Samuel Merritt University in the 21st century continues in the tradition started long ago by this extraordinary individual who had a great vision for the quality and well being of the East Bay community.

Universalis Centralis

Universalis CentralisUniversalis centralis is the kinetic sculpture found at the entrance of the Health Education Center on the Oakland campus of Samuel Merritt University. The sculpture is the central icon for the institution, designed to reflect the ever-changing world of health care in which we and our graduates serve. The universalis centralis symbolizes change, growth, and learning. Importantly, the sculpture captures the need to stay abreast of innovations in health care. The symbol is used as the University's logo.

The universalis centralis is a polished stainless steel outdoor sculpture created by Jerome Kirk in 1986. Signed by the artist at its base, it is approximately 14 feet by 9 feet.