Trustee praised at building dedication

Michelle Ma

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley spoke to more than 400 guests who gathered to celebrate the new research center at the Feinberg School of Medicine on Northwestern’s Chicago Campus Thursday.

“We are truly proud of this university and this hospital,” Daley said during his speech at the dedication ceremony of the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center. The dedication drew NU and Chicago representatives, university trustees and donors to celebrate the new center.

The $200-million, 12-story research center will allow Feinberg to bring more than 100 new researchers to work in the facility’s cutting-edge laboratories and seminar rooms. The building contains open laboratory space that will promote interactive research among scientists from different departments.

“This magnificent new building will literally transform our medical school,” said Feinberg Dean Lewis Landsberg. He and other speakers praised primary donor and NU trustee Ann Lurie. The new building is named in honor of her late husband.

The new research facility was built through major donations from Lurie, as well as Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the State of Illinois, and NU Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick Ryan and his wife, Shirley, an NU alumna.

Lurie, who donated $40 million to the new center, was accompanied by several members of her family and was featured during the ceremony as a philanthropist who “didn’t just write a check,” according to her son, Andrew Lurie. He gave an account of his mother’s life and introduced her as the closing speaker.

“I think it’s fair to say my mom, Ann, was born into philanthropy,” he said.

Steven Rosen, director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, expressed similar gratitude to all donors with an emphasis on celebrating the Lurie family.

“This is a moment to relish, a moment to celebrate and a moment to dream,” said Rosen, who personally knew Robert Lurie. As he looked at Robert Lurie’s mother, Sylvia, seated in the front row he said, “Mrs. Lurie, I loved your son.”

More research space and advanced laboratory equipment allows medical school officials to recruit distinguished researchers, said University President Henry Bienen.

“Scientists working in this facility will advance 21st century medicine,” Bienen said as he addressed the crowd. “We have the opportunity to bring some of the brightest minds together.”

Although Feinberg is still looking for more researchers to fill the new building, current NU faculty are eager to use the new laboratories, said J. Larry Jameson, chairman of the department of medicine.

“All the scientists who have been constrained across the street are quite anxious to get started here,” Jameson said.

When Ann Lurie stepped up to the podium, she received a standing ovation. She challenged those who will work in the new facility to apply their resources and “engender change” in the medical field.

“I absolutely know in my heart that those who labor here will make progress,” she said. After she accepted the gratitude of previous speakers, Ann Lurie honored her late husband and his gifts to the medical community.

“I’m going to send a spiritual happy birthday to my husband,” she said. “Today was his birthday.”

Reach Michelle Ma at [email protected]