Thursday’s celebration of Qunnipiac University’s new Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, as well as the $100 million Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, came on the heels of some rather generous gifts to the university.
First and foremost was the gift of Edward and Barbara Netter. Though Quinnipiac would not disclose the amount of the gift, university President John Lahey referred to it as the largest single donation in the school’s history.
For that, the school was named after Edward Netter’s cousin, the medical illustrator Frank Netter. Two handsome portraits, painted in thanks to hang in the building as remembrance, were created by another artist, Everett Raymond Kinstler, who’s created portraits for six U.S. presidents.
St. Vincent’s Medical Center, which has a partnership with the school, pledged more than $1 million to establish the medical school’s first endowed chair, The St. Vincent’s Medical Center Endowed Chair in Medical Sciences, now held by Stephen Wikel, senior associate dean for scholarship.
“I worked very hard on this affiliation over the course of several years, to make this a reality, where St. Vincent’s Medical Center is the primary clinical partner for the school of medicine,” said Dr. Stuart Marcus, president of St. Vincent’s.
The medical school’s main focus is training students for primary care. Students at the Center for Medicine will study alongside nursing students and others in a way not seen at many medical schools. St. Vincent’s also sponsored two scholarships for the incoming class of 60 medical students, according to Marcus.
Bill Weldon, a Quinnipiac trustee and former CEO of Johnson & Johnson, and his wife made a $1 million donation to create the William and Barbara Weldon Chair in Rehabilitation Medicine.
Weldon said he and his wife both graduated from Quinnipiac in 1971. Watching the school’s evolution, he said, “is just very special.”
“This school is such an extraordinary school and health care is so important in, I think, this whole area for training physicians for the future,”
Weldon said. “My wife and myself made a gift, but I think there’s so many people that are really trying to advance the school and advance the education for these extraordinary young people,” Weldon said.
OmniMD, a medical software company (www.omnimd.com) based in New York, donated $7.6 million worth of software. Divan Dave, OmniMD CEO, said every student will be trained using its medical records software.
“I came to the United States in 1984 and I went through all public education and I never paid a single dime for any education, so this is one of the ways we want to get back to the community,” Dave said.
“And, being in the software business for electronic health records, we strongly believe all the new doctors who are coming should be trained fully on the (electronic records) so they can serve patients better, and that was our main objective.”