University of Delaware
The College of Health Sciences gala drew almost 250 people to the future Science and Technology Campus.

A wrench in the works

College of Health Sciences holds successful gala


4:37 p.m., May 24, 2011--It took two people to lift the giant wrench onto the table at the silent auction, but it was worth the weight—after several rounds of bidding, the vintage tool salvaged from the former Chrysler assembly plant sold for $550. Now well worn and slightly rusty, the wrench became an instant symbol of the property’s impending transformation from a brown site to a green one.

The auction was part of a first-ever event on what will become the University of Delaware’s Science and Technology Campus. On Friday, May 20, the UD College of Health Sciences (CHS), which will be the first tenant on the campus, held a gala to “fund raise and friend raise” for the planned Health Sciences Complex.

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Almost 250 people attended the gala, and the crowd exemplified the theme—partnerships. Attendees included faculty and administrators from UD,┬ápresidents and vice presidents from all of the organizations in the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance (DHSA), state congressional delegates, community and state┬áleaders, and representatives from biotechnology companies.

“For us, this event—and everything we have planned for the site—is all about partnerships,” said CHS Dean Kathleen Matt, “including partnerships in the DHSA, with our clinical colleagues, with our educational partners, with our biotech partners, with the community, and with businesses.

“Our goal now is to create an exciting 24/7 health and wellness community that will translate research and education into advances that change the lives of patients and their families.”

Matt shared this message during a brief platform program at the gala, and her comments were echoed and endorsed by all of the other speakers: UD President Patrick Harker; Robert Barchi, president of Thomas Jefferson University; Robert Laskowski, president of Christiana Care Health System; Rita Landgraf, secretary of Delaware Health and Social Services; Vickie Funanage, director of biomedical research at Nemours; Ashok Subramanian, emergency room physician and founder of Animedix; and Michael Bowman, president of the Delaware Technology Park.

The new Health Sciences Complex is planned as a “healthy community by design,” where health is not only the topic of research, education and clinical programs but also a way of life. The complex will include clinics to provide low-cost, high-quality care to the community, core labs for collaborative research, space for inter-professional education, vendors of healthful foods, fitness facilities, walking and biking paths, and space for biomedical startup and spinoff companies.

In keeping with this plan, the theme for the gala, which was organized by the Planning Factory, was health and wellness, with fresh foods, “green” serving pieces, and a natural setting.

“The gala was a great first step in our journey to build out the vision for the new Health Sciences Complex,” said Nekita Nesmith, director of development for the college. “It was the beginning of much more to come from CHS, and we will continue to need the support of our alumni and friends to make this vision a reality.”

Article by Diane Kukich

Photos by Evan Krape

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