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TODAY news for Thursday, April 20, 2006

Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center news

Groundbreaking ceremonies held for new University Centennial Complex

LLU deans releasing doves at the groundbreaking
The deans of the Loma Linda University schools release doves commemorating the groundbreaking for the new Centennial Complex and Centennial Pathway. Construction on the new complex will begin in the fall of 2006. Please turn to page 7 for more pictures.
Shovels turned soil, doves flew into a sunny Southern California sky, and celebrating onlookers witnessed the groundbreaking for Loma Linda University’s new Centennial Complex on Friday, April 7.

Vision is becoming reality at the north end of the Loma Linda campus, as construction is now underway for the most ambitious new University building project in more than a decade. On the site of the recently dismantled Gentry Gymnasium, the Centennial Complex will steadily take shape and move toward completion.

Prior to the ceremonies, guests and participants assembled on the basic sciences quadrangle, where the Centennial Pathway will form a bridge between Magan Hall and the new complex. In attendance as the program began at 3:30 p.m. were Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders, Board of Trustees members, government officials, Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center (LLUAHSC) Councilors and leaders, project donors, faculty, students, and staff.

Following a welcome by J. Lynn Martell, DMin, vice president for advancement, Gerald Winslow, PhD, vice president for spiritual life and wholeness, offered prayer.

Richard H. Hart, MD, DrPH, chancellor of Loma Linda University, then presented a historical overview written by former Loma Linda Board chair Neal C. Wilson.

In her commemorative remarks, B. Lyn Behrens, MBBS, president/CEO of LLUAHSC, noted Loma Linda’s progress through time—its early history tangibly portrayed by the large inscribed rock standing near the soon-to-be constructed Centennial Pathway. This rock once stood on the campus of the American Medical Missionary College, founded in 1895 in Battle Creek, Michigan. From those early roots of medical education, Loma Linda’s forward progress will be illustrated as the pathway continues to the Centennial Complex.

Dr. Behrens thanked Elvin and Geri Gaines for their contribution making possible a large stylized globe that will rise at the center of the Centennial Pathway. Dr. Gaines is a School of Medicine graduate, and the Gaines are LLUAHSC Councilors and members of the Centennial Complex campaign steering committee. Dr. Behrens also noted the support of the School of Medicine’s Alumni Association and Alumni Association Auxiliary.

At this point, guests and program participants walked from the quadrangle to the groundbreaking site in a tent on the north side of Stewart Street. Here, Dr. Hart continued the ceremonies with a summary of the three guiding emphases of the new complex: growth, innovation, and globalization. Speaking on behalf of the students who will use the new facility, student association president Neal Johnson thanked all who have made the new learning center possible.

Dr. Behrens then thanked the many donors who have generously contributed to making the Centennial Complex a reality, acknowledging in particular the facility’s major donors for whom various areas of the new complex are to be named: William and Rose Swatek, for the anatomy pavilion; Patrick and Linda Wong, for the east tower; James and Marge Jetton, for the amphitheater center; and Frank and Anne Damazo, for the large, 350-seat amphitheater.

President Behrens also paid tribute to the efforts of the volunteer steering committee, co-chaired by Raye and Carl Lofgren and Patti and Carleton Wallace. Other members of the committee include Helen and Andrew Boskind, Geri and Elvin Gaines, Mary Ann and Ladon Homer, Judy and John Jacobson, Linda and Ted Mackett, Noni Patchett, Annie and Gene Rathbun, Janet and Naor Stoehr, and Delmar Tonge.

The moment all had awaited now arrived. Guests were invited to the groundbreaking site itself. LLUAHSC Board chair Lowell C. Cooper, MDiv, MPH, noted that he would be using the commemorative shovel first used at a groundbreaking at Loma Linda’s 50th anniversary—a shovel bearing the inscriptions of all the ceremonies where it had been used in the intervening years.

Following a prayer by Elder Cooper, a small group of participants joined the Board chair in breaking ground for the new complex. Digging into the north-campus earth were representatives of the student body, administration, Board of Trustees, campaign committee, and donors.

The groundbreaking celebration concluded with an inspiring event—the release of more than 100 doves winging their way into the spring sky. The first doves released represented the University’s schools  followed by the release of 100 more doves representing Loma Linda’s 100 years of service.

Guests left the ceremonies with miniature commemorative shovels, each about five inches long. But beyond this reminder, guests also left also with a renewed vision of Loma Linda’s mission—and gratitude to its Founding Healer for its continued growth as Loma Linda moves into its second century of service.

By Ken McFarland

TODAY news for Thursday, April 20, 2006