Friday, April 18, 2014
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Newly decorated BUSM corridor honors its history

Thanks to a number of donors, a corridor of the Boston University School of Medicine is now decorated with restored plaques, portraits and pictures commemorating significant figures in the school’s history.

BU MED students and officials gathered Tuesday to honor the restoration of several works of art and historical artifacts now decorating the medical campus. MED Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Douglas Hughes and various donors made the renovations possible, said Provost of the BU Medical Campus Karen Antman.

“Over the course of about three or four months, Dr. Hughes … identified a number of items that were important to the history of the school and arranged to have faculty and staff make donations so that they could be renovated,” Antman, who is also MED dean, said.

During a brief reception on the MED campus, Antman thanked faculty, staff and alumni who made the restorations possible with their donations.

“It’s important to have a culture of philanthropy on the medical campus,” she said in her remarks. “We certainly have some very supportive alumni who have donated to scholarships and to research support, but we’ve also got staff and faculty who have stepped up to the plate and each done a part of these projects.”

The additions will improve academic life for students as well as promote the school’s history, Antman said.

“What you see [here] makes an immense difference,” she said “… Having access to history makes for deeper appreciation of the history of the school.”

Restored works include a fountain that now sits outside MED’s central building, an antique grandfather clock and a number of photographs and pictures. Many of the pieces commemorate leaders and other significant figures in MED’s history.

Honored historical figures included Samuel Gregory, original dean and founder of America’s first female medical school, which later became BUSM, Israel Talbot, original BUSM dean who created America’s first co-ed medical school, and BUSM graduate Anna Howard Shaw, who chaired the National Women’s Suffrage Association.

“You all, through your donation, have brought our history back to life,” Hughes said.

Public School of Health Dean Robert Meenan also spoke at the reception, thanking donors and voicing his support for philanthropy on the MED campus.

Donors included department chairs, MED graduates and faculty from the Goldman School of Medicine and School of Public Health, MED Assistant Dean for Development Lawrence Crimmins said.

“We’re trying to create that culture of philanthropy on campus,” he said.

The works will create more awareness among MED students about their school’s rich history, Crimmins said.

“It’s good for our students to understand our history and how we’ve gotten to where we are,” he said. “Having a focus on history and bringing that up to our students here is important.”

Third-year MED student Michelle Min, president of the Student Committee on Medical School Affairs, said the pieces add to the campus’s appearance and serve to remind students of its culture.

“It’s a shame to think that these wonderful pieces were up in the library hidden away,” Min said. “It’s also great that our new Dean took such great interest in bringing these out. It’s a good reminder that we’re not just about the science — we have history, we have a culture.”

Fourth-year MED student Peters Otlans said many students are unaware of the School of Medicine’s legacy.

“In general, BUSM has a really rich history, and not a lot of people necessarily know about it,” he said.

The restored pieces are a wonderful way to commemorate this history, Otlans said.

“The school is very historical and it’s really been a leader in diversity, education and medicine in Boston and in the world,” he said. “It’s really nice to see it being recognized by the administration and by other people and donors.”

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