During the early years of Mayo Clinic, scores of physicians from around the world traveled to Rochester, Minn., to observe the Mayo brothers — Drs. Will and Charlie — perform surgery. In 1906, seven such visiting physicians formed the International Surgeons Club.
The group, whose name was later shortened to the Surgeons Club, was created so that, in their words, "physicians who came here to see the work done at Saint Marys Hospital by the Mayo brothers may be enabled to meet together and discuss the work of the day and other matters of mutual interest."
Eventually, the club was given space on the second floor of a building located where the Siebens Building stands today. Within months, the club had more than 300 members representing many states and a number of countries.
At a meeting of the Mayo Clinic staff in July 1915, Dr. Harold Foss, a fellow in surgery, proposed "the formation of an association, comprised of members of the Mayo Clinic staff and physicians who, having served at least one year in Rochester, are now practicing in other parts of the country."
Dr. Foss, along with Dr. Egerton Crispin, Dr. Arch Logan, Dr. Robert Mussey and Dr. Albert Miller, drafted a constitution that established the Association of Resident and Ex-Resident Physicians of Mayo Clinic. Its mission was to establish a closer and more definite social and scientific relationship between these individuals and the clinic.
The first formal meeting of the association was held Sept. 4-5, 1917. Officers elected included:
- Dr. Harold Foss, president
- Dr. Donald Balfour, vice president
- Dr. W.C. Carroll, secretary
- Dr. Arthur Sanford, treasurer
In 1935, membership eligibility was changed to include anyone who became a Mayo Clinic faculty member and anyone who had served at least three years as a fellow in Mayo Graduate School.
Membership grew from 121 in 1921 to more than 2,000 by 1949. In 1992, there were more than 10,000 members; as of 2011, there are more than 20,000 members.
Located on the fifth floor of the Siebens Building in Rochester, Mayo Clinic Alumni Center provides gathering space for alumni and their visitors and houses MCAA staff. The center includes a reception area, MCAA administrative offices and two rooms that can be used for meetings or reading.
Mayo Clinic Alumni Center was made possible by more than $500,000 in gifts from generous MCAA members. The space was dedicated on Oct. 28, 1989.