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Dynamic Chiropractic – April 12, 1991, Vol. 09, Issue 08

Northwestern College of Chiropractic -- 50 Years of Excellence

Historical Roots

By Editorial Staff
NWCC's evolution in Minnesota was preceded by a number of other chiropractic colleges, including the Minnesota College of Non-Medicinal Therapy, which later became the Minnesota Chiropractic College, the precursor to NWCC. Two other chiropractic colleges were contemporaries of the Minnesota Chiropractic College, but neither survived past 1927.

The demise of these early chiropractic colleges was likely due to the passage of a basic science law adopted in Minnesota in 1927. This law required graduates to pass basic science exams to be licensed. John B. Wolfe, D.C., father of NWCC and leader of chiropractic, welcomed the science requirements; and basic science classes became one Northwestern's strengths.

The Beginning

Dr. Wolfe founded Northwestern in 1941; he had three students. Under the tutelage of Dr. Wolfe, NWCC offered many classes that are part of the standard chiropractic curriculum of today, including venipuncture and urology. Under President Wolfe's 43 years of direction, NWCC became nationally known as a college that emphasized a comprehensive curriculum in anatomy and physiology. Northwestern's reputation was further enhanced by the arrival of Dr. J. LaMoine De Rusha in 1946. His expertise in neurology and anatomy was a welcome addition to Northwestern.

In 1949, the college moved to a larger facility on Park Avenue in Minneapolis.

By 1965, chiropractic students at NWCC were required to have completed two years of college at a University of Minnesota accredited school before sitting for the basic science exam. No other chiropractic college instituted a pre-professional program until 1968.

In the late 1960s, the college modernized its programs and facility. The college's outpatient clinic was improved to provide facilities for the extern program and, as part of the clinic, provided a diagnostic center for area chiropractors.

1970 saw the adoption of a new, systems-oriented curriculum that required students to take basic science courses at an area college. That same year, NWCC created a new chiropractic curriculum designed to meet the higher academic qualifications of entering students, who now had a minimum of two years of college with an emphasis on the sciences.

By the mid-70s, a full basic science curriculum was established on campus, giving chiropractic education the stature and prestige few chiropractic colleges were able to provide.


In 1971, Northwestern had the honor to become the first chiropractic college in the country to receive accreditation. The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) recognized the combined program in basic sciences and a curriculum specifically designed to bring basic and clinical sciences together in systems courses.

Moving Up

With an ever growing student body, the college moved in the mid- 70's to a much larger building in St. Paul that overlooked the Mississippi river. Northwestern expanded its public clinics rapidly during the latter half of the decade with off-campus clinics being added. In 1977 the college instituted another first, implementing its preceptorship program. This novel program allowed a senior intern to complete the final term of school in the field, practicing as an associate with an established chiropractic doctor. Currently more than 95 percent of the senior class choose this avenue of "real world" clinic experience.

In 1983 the college moved to a 25-acre campus in Bloomington, a southern suburb of Minneapolis. The 200,000 square foot building includes a private lake, classrooms, laboratories, lecture halls, library, bookstore, public clinics, an auditorium that seats more than 550, a gymnasium, and an Olympic size swimming pool.

A $2.47 million Center for Clinical Studies will open this May to coincide with NWCC's 50th anniversary. The center is an expression of the college's long-standing commitment to what Northwestern's President, Dr. Donald Cassata calls, "a new era -- the proliferation of research for chiropractic."

Dr. Cassata states: "Basic and clinical research are vital to the growth of the profession and to the care of chiropractic patients. Chiropractic colleges have the responsibility to provide the leadership and direction for this growth to occur. Foundations and the federal government must open their doors and support our colleges with monies and resources to accomplish this goal -- helping us achieve success."

Dr. Cassata wants to see chiropractic play a primary role in the care of our nation's elderly, in injury prevention and care in the workplace, in the care of children and athletes, and in the provision of holistic care.

"As stewards of the profession, our responsibility to this educational standard is very real," Cassata says. "Our professional credibility and prestige can only be achieved and maintained through providing quality patient services and results; through the publication of scientific and valid research; through expanded knowledge in chiropractic clinical science; through high quality educational institutions like Northwestern; through chiropractors who possess high standards of ethics and integrity; and through other health professionals and the public understanding the benefits of chiropractic care."

NWCC Celebrates 50 Years, May 2-4

Nearly 1,000 people are expected to take part in the 50th anniversary celebration. "Our anniversary celebration will allow alumni and friends of NWCC to take part in an exciting and enriching weekend, as we pause to reflect on the past 50 years which has brought NWCC it international reputation as a learning and research center," said Dr. Donald Cassata.

"Attendees will also have an opportunity to explore the excellent future that lies ahead for the chiropractic profession in the 21st century, through a variety of relevant educational seminars."

Scheduled activities during Northwestern's 50th anniversary celebration will include:

Historical Review: Participants will take a step back into NWCC's past with a night of history on Thursday, May 2. They will sample an array of historical events, including class reunions, a chance to contribute something to the Northwestern time capsule, a history corner of memorabilia, and an historical review written and performed especially for NWCC by Dudley Riggs Theatre.

Entertainment: Those in attendance will enjoy the music of international superstar, John Denver, on Friday evening, May 3, and then will be invited to join the gala finale on Saturday night, May 4, for the president's reception and black tie banquet. Banquet-goers will dance the night away to big band sounds.

Recognition: Northwestern will celebrate 50 years of chiropractic education on Saturday, May 3. After the recognition lunch, participants will be able to take a tour of the Center for Clinical Studies, a one-of-a-kind chiropractic research clinic.

Seminars/Credits: Thirteen hours of seminar credits are being offered, including three x-ray credits, for relicensure. The seminar schedule will provide a wide range of timely, instructive topics focusing on chiropractic in the 21st century.

Special airline discounts are available for the 50th anniversary. Participants will stay at the Radisson Hotel South in Bloomington, near the Northwestern campus. For more information, contact NWCC at (612) 888-4777.

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