By | June 27, 2007 12:00 am

ORLANDO, June 27, 2007 — More than 310 members of the Central Florida community celebrated at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine temporary offices Tuesday.

The university president and college dean invited the community to the open house to celebrate the many partnerships that have led to this point. They also reminded the audience that the process to get accredited as a medical college is a long one and asked the community to stay with them and support them on that journey.

“We have tremendous support from the private sector and government,” President John Hitt told the audience, which jammed the facility lobby at University Tower in the Central Florida Research Park, adjacent to the UCF main campus. “And it’s expandable.”

Hitt thanked the dozens of people who have donated to the efforts to build the permanent facility at the UCF Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona. College Dean Deborah German thanked the growing list of scholarships donors, which will help fulfill her dream of giving the inaugural class of 40 students four-year scholarships worth $160,000 each.

German announced that 10 scholarships have been funded at a total of about $1.4 million. That leaves 30 more opportunities to invest in the future health of the community, she added.

As guests ate hors d’oeuvres, German gave an update of progress since her arrival at UCF about six months ago. The next milestone will be the Liaison Committee on Medical Education visit in December. The site team will make a recommendation to the national board on whether or not the school should be accredited. Only when the school has preliminary accreditation can it begin to recruit students.

“It wasn’t very long ago that this college was a dream,” German said. “This is the first step of many to make the medical school a reality and to show you the real tangible evidence that it will happen.”

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, most of the 315 guests took tours of the third floor of the building – the temporary home of the College of Medicine.

The third floor was completely remodeled in eight weeks to house the first 40 students of the college should a hurricane or some other unforeseen event delay completion of the building at Lake Nona.

The floor includes faculty and administrative offices; a student affairs area to handle admissions, registration and financial aid; and several exam rooms so students can practice what they learn. There also are several small group rooms for studying; a lecture room; a computer room and medical library; a lounge area and kitchen

Rasesh Thakkar, senior managing director for the Tavistock Group, also spoke during the short ceremony before the tours began. He applauded everyone’s efforts.

“We all have a dream, a simple focus on health, sciences and education that will not only transform our economy, but our healthcare,” Thakkar said.

He challenged everyone in the room to continue to invest in the future of Central Florida by donating to the scholarship

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