The Gundersen House is one of five Houses that comprise the Neighborhood at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
Gundersen House advisor: Dr. Sam Lubner
The Gundersen House is named after Gunnar Gundersen, MD, and Adolf Gundersen, MD.
Gunnar Gundersen, MD and Adolf Gundersen, MD
The Gundersens were La Crosse natives and part of the founding family of Gundersen Lutheran Clinic, have both been described as men of passion and compassion.
Gunnar Gundersen, MD, was born in 1897, the son of founder Adolf Gundersen. He attended Columbia University School of Medicine and specialized in orthopedic surgery. He returned to La Crosse to intern with his father, being particularly valuable because of his fluency in German, Norwegian and English.
He was known for his love of national politics, and in 1958 was elected president of the American Medical Association. To quote from his inaugural address, "Medicine, like religion, speaks a universal language which passes all barriers of race, color, creed and nationality."
Adolf Gundersen, MD, the nephew of Gunnar, was a graduate of Harvard Medical School and completed his surgical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was renowned for his work in vascular surgery, but left his greatest mark as a leader of the Gundersen Clinic and the Gundersen Medical Foundation.
Since its founding more than a century ago, Gundersen Lutheran has grown into a medical practice of almost 400 specialists offering services in a 19 county area in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.
"He was a compassionate physician, a superb surgeon and truly an outstanding human being," said William Boyd, MD, a friend and fellow Gundersen Lutheran surgeon. "He had tremendous intellectual curiosity, which made him a good teacher. He was able to size up something correctly, which made him a tremendous surgeon and leader. He inspired us to strive for excellence."
He was also remembered for his passion about medical education. Under his guidance, Gundersen Lutheran developed reputable medical education and top-notch research programs. He served on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents for eight years, following a family tradition that included service as regents by his grandfather and uncle.
Adolf Gundersen was a advocate of the UW System and he was most proud when UW medical school named Gundersen Lutheran as its western clinical campus. Today, one half of each medical school graduating class has spent one month or longer rotating at Gundersen, and fourth-year students may elect to spend an entire year in training there.