April 23, 2018
Old school: U-M in History
Gregor "Doc" Nagele's bell was a fixture on the Medical School campus for his long tenure at U-M, more than 50 years. (Courtesy of Bentley Historical Library)
Gregor "Doc" Nagele was a janitor at the U-M Medical School from 1849-1900. His official duties consisted of ringing the bell to awaken students, however his more important and surreptitious role was to collect cadavers for use by the Medical School. At that time, there were no laws that protected cadaver use for educational purposes. However, Doc always found a way to talk himself and his department out of legal trouble. He was so beloved by faculty and staff that, upon hearing the regents wanted to dismiss him for being "too old and feeble," the Medical School faculty pretended not to hear the clock meant to replace Doc until his duty as bell ringer — and, therefore, a normal class schedule — was restored.
— Adapted from "Anatomist and Janitor," by Jan Schlain, Stories of the Staff