More than 1,100 guests celebrated the opening of the new UCF College of Medicine’s facilities at Lake Nona Saturday with an event that included fireworks and interactive tours of the state-of-the-art medical education building. The fundraising event raised $350,000 for the community’s medical school, an amount that will be used as flexible funds for medical education.
UCF President John C. Hitt spoke to guests from the Tavistock Green, named for the Tavistock Foundation that donated 50 acres of land for the UCF Health Sciences Campus and a $12.5 million challenge grant for construction of the medical education building. Hitt thanked donors, local physicians, government officials and citizens who made the college a reality by lobbying legislators, raising money for facilities and full scholarships for the charter class, and serving as volunteer faculty members. “Tonight,” he said, reciting the university’s motto, “We can say for certain that UCF stands for opportunity.”
The president noted that the College of Medicine and the emerging life sciences cluster at Lake Nona are expected to create more than 30,000 jobs and bring $7.6 billion to the local economy.
Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the College of Medicine, welcomed guests “to your medical school” and talked about how the college will train a new kind of doctor for the 21st century.
Celebrants ended the evening with a champagne toast from test tubes that was led by Rasesh Thakkar, senior managing director of Tavistock Group, and a fireworks display donated by Sea World. A variety of area restaurants donated food and beverages for a progressive dinner on all four floors of the new $65 million, 170,000-square foot medical education building. The event also featured musical performances on every floor and interactive experiences in the Anatomy Lab, Clinical Skills and Simulation Center and the Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library.
Admission to the event included individualized bricks that will become a permanent part of the College of Medicine’s Piazza.