By Kirk White, assistant vice president for strategic partnerships, Indiana University
It was standing room only today at Old National Convention Center in Evansville when the citizens of the tri-state area welcomed the Stone Family Center for Health Sciences to downtown Evansville.
A sometimes-emotional Mayor Lloyd Winnecke called the new center “enduring,” “generational” and “once in a lifetime.” Those descriptions were not overstatements. The state-of-the-art $70 million facility will raise the standard of health care for the entire region. The center includes multiple academic health care programs by Indiana University, the University of Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana. IU will train future generations of medical doctors at the center, and the IU School of Dentistry will soon open its first independent dental clinic outside of Indianapolis. Though not a main mission of the center, it is already re-energizing the downtown economy, with more than 50 new businesses and food establishments opening since the selection of the downtown site.
This month marks my 34th anniversary of IU staff service. I’ve worked on hundreds of events, programs and projects over the years, but this one is special. The community leadership in Evansville truly has an inspirational spirit and a belief that they can do anything they put their minds to. Uniting the three universities, four hospital systems, local and state government support, and millions of dollars of private donor support is an accomplishment that will certainly be studied by communities around the nation. Let’s celebrate with Evansville today!