John C. Herweg



Interview Date


Biographical History

John C. Herweg (1922-2018) was the former Associate Dean for Student Affairs at Washington University School of Medicine. He served in that role from 1965 to 1990. He also served as the chairman of the committee on admissions and as an advisor to medical students. As associate dean, Herweg guided student affairs through new channels, including active recruitment of minority students, providing support for the increasing number of women seeking a career in medicine, and steady direction during student protests.

Herweg earned his medical degree from Washington University in 1945. He served a year-long internship at St. Louis Children's Hospital before serving as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1946 to 1948. Herweg returned to Children's Hospital as the chief resident after his military service.

In 1951, he joined the faculty at the School of Medicine as an instructor in pediatrics. Herweg became the director of the Clinical Research Unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital until 1970.


An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 45 minutes.

John Herweg discusses the segregated wards for Black patients in Barnes Hospital and the desegregation of St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

Herweg begins by relating the experiences of medical students at Washington University when he was a student in the 1940s, and compares those experiences with contemporary students. He explains how medical students were assigned patients in one of the segregated ward at Barnes, Ward 0400, and the similarities and differences between the wards for white and Black patients.

Herweg then relates the events that led to the removal of the Black wards and desegregation at Children’s Hospital. He discusses his involvement in the desegregation of the medical school and the first Black students to enroll, including the first post-graduate student in 1947. He also explains how the medical school attracts and retains Black students, and what measures have been put in place to help Black students succeed.


Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project


Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives


Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri