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Dartmouth Medical School named for Dr. Seuss and wife

Dartmouth College announced this morning that its medical school will be renamed the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in honor of the beloved illustrator and author Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, and his wife, Audrey.

Ted Geisel was a graduate of the class of 1925, and the family has given more money to the college during Geisel’s lifetime and since his death in 1991 than any other philanthropist, according to a Dartmouth press release.

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“Naming our school of medicine in honor of Audrey and Ted Geisel is a tribute to two individuals whose work continues to change the world for the better,” Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim said in the release. “Ted Geisel lived out the Dartmouth ethos of thinking differently and creatively to illuminate the world’s challenges and the opportunities for understanding and surmounting them. . . Audrey and Ted Geisel have cared deeply for this institution, and we are enormously proud to announce this lasting partnership.”

Geisel created such classic books as “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat.” The release includes this story about the beginnings of the Seuss legacy:

It was at Dartmouth that Ted Geisel “discovered the excitement of ‘marrying’ words to pictures,” he said in a 1975 interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. “I began to get it through my skull that words and pictures were Yin and Yang. I began thinking that words and pictures, married, might possibly produce a progeny more interesting than either parent.”

As a student, he wrote for and eventually became the editor-in-chief of Dartmouth’s humor magazine, The Jack-O-Lantern. On April 11 of his senior year, Geisel organized a party for the The Jack-O-Lantern staff to celebrate the spectacular success that the humor magazine enjoyed during his tenure as editor. Geisel and company’s revelry was not well received by the dean, and Geisel was told to resign from all extracurricular activities at Dartmouth, including the college humor magazine.

In order to continue work on The Jack-O-Lantern without the administration’s knowledge, Geisel began signing his work for the first time with the pen name “Seuss.”

Chelsea Conaboy can be reached at cconaboy@boston.com. Follow her on Twitter @cconaboy.
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