Marion, born in Bothwell, was the first female to graduate from the University of Glasgow and the first woman to gain a medical degree in Scotland.
The daughter of William Gilchrist, a tenant farmer, and Margaret Williamson, Marion was the youngest of five children. She had three bothers, John, William and Douglas, and one sister, Agnes.
Her education began at around 6 or 7 years of age, when she attended the local parish church. In 1877 she left school to work on the family farm. However, she continued her education on her own. Her father and brother Douglas thought it was useless for a girl to study academic subjects, yet her brother John encouraged her. She went on to attend Hamilton Academy for some classes and studied at home to achieve the necessary standards to matriculate at the Queen Margaret College in 1887, by now aged 23 years old.
She went on to obtain the degree of LLA (Lady Literature in Arts) awarded by the University of St. Andrews in 1890. She immediately applied for the the newly formed medical school of QMC and was accepted along with eight others from QMC and four from the Missionary Nurses Training Home.
Queen Margaret College was incorporated into Glasgow University in 1892 and women students were able to obtain the same medical degree as men.
Graduation took place on the 19th July 1894, Marion was one of two women to graduate, the other being Miss Alice L L Cumming. Marion also had the additional honor of graduating with high commendation.
During her studies, Marion was the Vice-President of the QMC Students’ Union, Vice-President of the Literary and Debating Society and convener of the QMC Committee of Glasgow University Liberal Club .
Early in her career, Marion developed a keen interest in diseases of the eye and she combined general practice with ophthalmology. She was honorary physician to the Invalid Children’s School of the Queen Margaret Settlement from 1903- 1911. In 1914 she was appointed assistant surgeon in the eye department of the Victoria Infirmary. She then became a consultant ophthalmologist at Redlands Hospital for Women, where she served until the end of her life, both as a clinician and fundraiser.
She lived and worked in the West End of Glasgow for most of her life, residing for 49 years at 5 Buckingham Terrace, where she shared living quarters and consulting rooms with Dr Catherine Chapman.
Marion died aged 88 on the 7th September 1952 in her home at Buckingham Terrace.
It is an honor to have The Gilchrist Postgraduate Club named after such an important and influential woman.