Dr. Russell Miller, a 39-year-old graduate of the Howard University College of Medicine, was named yesterday as dean of that school, effective July 1.
The announcement was made by Dr. James Cheek, president of Howard, during dedicatoin ceremonies for the Seeley G. Mudd Building, a new, $4.9 million home for the medical school.
It is the first structure to be completed in an ambitious building program on the medical shcool campus.
Miller, who will take over the post from Dr. Marion Mann, dean for the last nine years, received his medical training at the University of Michigan Medical Center an the University of California at San Francisco, and has been a member of the Howard College of Medicine faculty for the last five years.
Miller assumes control of the medical school at a time when it is undergoing marked physical change.
In addition to the Mudd Building, which will house classrooms, laboratories, offices and student study areas, a $7.5 million cancer research center is scheduled to be completed in July, an $800,000 addition to the medical-dental library is under construction, and an $8.9 million addition and renovation of the dental school is being built.
The completion of the Mudd Building, Mann said, means that "at long last we can relieve the overcrowding we have endured as we endeavored in a building designed for 100 medical students to train 30 percent more than that number." Mann will return full time to teaching.
The new building, he told those attending the midmorning dedication of the facility on W Street NW, between Georgia Avenue and 5th Street, is a far cry from the frame house on 7th Street NW where Howard's first five students were taught in 1868.
One of the prime goals of the predominantly black medical school today, said Mann, must be to encourage larger numbers of black students to stay in school and to apply eventually for medical school admission.
"Only one percent of [200,000] black college students are applying to medical school," he said. "We want ot increase that number. We want to serve in our roles as teachers and researchers and clinicians" as an inspiration for students "whose aspirations never reach this far."
Mann, who said he was asked to select one item to place in the corner-stone of the new building, chose two.
One is a study of minorities in medical education from 1966 to 1976, and the second a copy of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall's opinion in the Bakke reverse descrimination case.
The report on minority students in medical school was chose, Mann said, because, while the "task is not finished. . . it is comforting to see that salutory changes have occurred."
Mann then read from the Marshall opinion: "It is because of a legacy of unequal treatment that we must not permit society to give consideration to race in making decisions about who will hold positions of influence, affluence and prestige in America for far too long the doors to these positions have been shut to Negroes. If we are ever to become a fully integrated society, one in which the color of a person's skin will not deter the opportunity available to him or her, we must take steps to open those doors."
Miller said in an interview yesterday that his first goal as dean would be to continue to up-grade the quality of Howard's student body.
"Right now, on the basis of criteria used for admission. . . each year for the past five years the quality of our students has been improving," he said, crediting Mann and Mann's staff with making a "tremendous effort" in that area.