Iris and Michael Smith Clinics and Laboratories dedicated on May 18
Speakers of local and national note gather to pay homage to donors of National Jewish's newest building
More than 400 people gathered in the soaring atrium of the new Iris and Michael Smith Clinics and Laboratories on the campus of National Jewish Medical and Research Center on Friday, May 18, to dedicate the 93,600-sqare-foot building.
The dedication ceremony featured speakers of national and local renown, including Governor Bill Ritter, Colorado Senator Ken Salazar, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. Michael Salem, MD, FACS, National Jewish President and CEO, served as master of ceremonies for the important event and also introduced the first speaker, Steve Arent, National Jewish Board Chairman.
Mayor Hickenlooper said, "This is really how the world changes." He noted that National Jewish is a national resource. "Year after year National Jewish is the best in the country, and is the largest and fastest-growing center in the city."
Gov. Ritter gave his "special thanks to Iris and Michael - as an asthma sufferer and as governor of this state," he said. "Some of the most pre-eminent research scientists will be working in this building and over time they will make incredible differences."
The ceremony was preceded by a scientific symposium featuring top researchers from National Jewish and from scientific institutions around the country.
Set on the footprint of the original hospital site at the corner of Colfax Avenue and Jackson Street in Denver, the building contains three floors of patient service areas and three floors of research space. The building is named for Iris and Michael Smith, former Denver residents now living in Miami, who gave the lead gift of $5 million for the building. Mr. Smith is Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Freeport LNG Investments LLLP in Houston and is co-owner of Freeport LNG-GP Inc. Mrs. Smith is Chair, President and Treasurer of the Kaitar Foundation; Mr. Smith serves as Vice-Chair and Secretary.
"This facility will take medical science to the next level," Mrs. Smith said in her remarks at the dedication ceremony.
Mrs. Smith introduced the crowd to two of the many success stories at National Jewish: Ryan Giordano and Josh Hobbs. The three-year-old Giordano-despite his current health and vigor-was diagnosed by Dan Atkins, MD, at the age of one year with a protein intolerance that made it difficult and painful for him to eat. Hobbs, a severe asthma patient and Kunsberg School graduate, now plays football at Matchbeauf High School, where he recently ran a 96-yard touchdown to break a school record.
Other donors to the $23 million building included Charles P. and Diane Gallagher, the Greenspun Family Foundation, Sunya Perlmutter Kronstadt, the J. Leonard and Myra Levy Family, Jean and Milt Morris, the Adolph Coors Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel W. Yohannes, and $8 million from the federal government.
The National Jewish Medical and Research Center mission since 1899 is to heal, to discover and to educate as a preeminent healthcare institution. We serve by providing the best integrated and innovative care for patients and their families; by understanding and finding cures for the diseases we research; and by educating and training the next generation of healthcare professionals to be leaders in medicine and science.