In 1886, Cornelius, William K., Frederick W., and George W. Vanderbilt donated $250,000 to the College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) to establish an outpatient clinic to be operated by the College at its new campus on West 59th Street. It was meant to be a memorial to their father, William Henry Vanderbilt (1821-1885), who in 1884 had given P&S land and money amounting to $500,000 for the construction of a new building.
The Clinic, housed in a separate building on the campus at the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and West 60th St., was dedicated in December 1887. Besides providing low-cost obstetric care, Vanderbilt Clinic served as a teaching facility for P&S students. Oversight was vested in a Board of Managers which was made up of the Dean of the College, a representative of the donors, a representative of the College’s Board of Trustees (replaced by a member of the Columbia University Board of Trustees when the College completely merged into Columbia in 1891), and two members of the P&S faculty.
Following the affiliation between Columbia and Presbyterian Hospital and the decision to jointly construct a Medical Center in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, the University decided to turn over its clinical units to Presbyterian Hospital in 1925. The Board of Managers continued to oversee the Clinic’s affairs until the move to the new Medical Center in March 1928, at which point it dissolved itself. The hospital’s emergency room remains housed in a structure called “Vanderbilt Clinic.”