Founded in 1941 as Northwestern College of Chiropractic, Northwestern Health Sciences University has grown in size and influence in the practice of natural health care in Minnesota and beyond. Dr. John B. Wolfe, a civil engineer turned doctor of chiropractic, founded Northwestern College of Chiropractic and started the college with the help of one colleague and three students.
The First Campuses
Beginning in a second floor of a downtown Minneapolis building, Dr. Wolfe founded the college in response to the need for a school that offered a broad program in clinical, chiropractic and basic sciences. By 1949, a postwar influx of veterans raised the enrollment to 280. Northwestern prospered because of its rigorous academic program and the quality of the students and faculty. As Northwestern graduated more chiropractors, the profession grew, and more doctors of chiropractic referred still other students to the college.
At the same time, to affirm the legitimacy of chiropractic education, Northwestern became a nonprofit institution, unusual for chiropractic schools at the time. Its board included members of the Minnesota Chiropractic Association and the Minnesota Chiropractic Foundation. As the college grew, it moved to larger quarters on Park Avenue in Minneapolis, including a former carriage house that served as a clinic where students could treat patients.
In 1965, Northwestern entered a new period of growth. Creating the Giant Step Program, the school initiated a new clinic, pioneered a two-year pre-professional requirement for all incoming students, remodeled its main building including a library and all-purpose biology teaching laboratory, and adopted objectives to ensure the development of a quality education program designed for the needs of the profession.