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Allan P. Bakke
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    (February 4, 1940- )
    Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Rejected twice for admission to the medical school at University of California, Davis (1973-74)
    After learning that UC Davis reserved 16% of admissions to medical school for minority applicants, filed suit claiming reverse discrimination
    Case reached the Supreme Court
    Supreme Court ordered Bakke admitted (June 28, 1978)
    Supreme Court also ruled that specific racial quotas were unconstitutional, but that colleges could consider race as a factor in admissions
    Graduated from medical school (1982)
    Became an anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic
    He was rejected by eleven other medical schools in addition to UC Davis.
    He applied to UC Davis late in the admissions process when few seats were left; if he had applied earlier, he might well have avoided the whole legal mess.
    The case was so divisive that the nine Supreme Court justices issued six differing opinions.
    Coverage of the Bakke decision tended to reflect the ideology of whoever did the reporting, with conservatives emphasizing the end of quotas and liberals emphasizing that affirmative action had been upheld as a general principal.
    He served four years in the Marines, including a seven-month tour in Vietnam.
    He worked as an engineer at NASA and became interested in medicine while studying the effects of space flight on the human body.
    Several of the med schools that rejected him told him that, at age33, he was above their maximum limit.
    His MCAT scores were higher than those of the average UC Davis medical school applicant.
    The second time he applied to UC Davis, the only part of his application on which he did not score highly was an evaluation by the chair of the admissions committee, whose negative report had less to do with Bakke’s fitness than his complaints about the minority admissions program.
    He has avoided the limelight and refused to comment on the case.

Credit: C. Fishel

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