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07/31/18

A Message from Elizabeth Dale

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One of the first things I did when I arrived at Jefferson in 2014 was ask to see the alumni center. People looked at me, scratched their heads, and then told me, “There is no alumni center.” Since alumni are the heart of any academic institution, that came as a surprise. But I was undaunted because at Jefferson, we reimagine things: We reimagine health, education, and discovery. I knew Jefferson would have to dream up a place—a home—for our alumni.

Elizabeth Dale

On May 31, that dream came true when we celebrated the opening of Jefferson’s very first on-campus home for alumni, the Marie E. Pinizzotto, MD ’88, MBA and Carol A. Ammon, BSN ’17, MBA Alumni Center. It was a joyous occasion in a dazzling new space where alumni can gather to catch up, recall the old days, learn about everything happening at Jefferson, network with colleagues, mentor students, conduct official alumni business, attend on-campus events, and access alumni services. 

In her remarks to the group seated before the ceremonial ribbon draped across the entrance, Marie Pinizzotto summed up the event and the new Center best: “The first thing I want to say is wow!” Marie’s wow is about much more than the beautiful physical space. It’s about a space that celebrates the past, the present, and the future. 

Custom-designed, museum display cases along the back wall exhibit artifacts from Jefferson’s archives. The collection reflects the history of medicine since 1824 and Jefferson’s many contributions to that upward arc of progress. 

When we started thinking about the Center, we knew it had to be in Alumni Hall because we wanted to connect students to our alumni. The interior wall of the Pinizzotto-Ammon Alumni Center is glass, so our students can see the archival displays as they walk through the corridor to Brent Auditorium. That glimpse into our past shows them the rich heritage they are preparing to enter and also tells them that they have been given much and therefore bear an obligation toward the future. As Jefferson alumni, they will be the builders of tomorrow’s legacy—for their alma mater and for the well-being of their community. Our goal is to connect students to alumni during their time at Sidney Kimmel Medical College.

Another big wow about the Center is that it’s fully funded by philanthropy. It was built for alumni and by alumni. Alumni donors literally made it possible, starting with the lead gift from Marie and Carol, and a generous contribution from the Diploma Nurses Alumni Association. We’ve received broad support from alumni young and old, near and far, and across five of six Center City colleges. Our goal is to raise $3.3 million for construction. We’re at $2.7 million. What’s really special is an additional $1.5 million goal for endowment, which includes $1 million to support alumni programming and $500,000 for scholarships—yet another way we’re connecting alumni and students. We’ve already hit our scholarship goal. 

Many alumni have already made gifts and had their names inscribed in lights on our interactive Alumni Legacy Wall, prominently located at the Center’s entrance. The electronic wall has a search function and can display names of individual graduates or legacy families with
multiple alumni, along with their stories, photos, and more.

“As a Jefferson alumnus, I’m extraordinarily proud and deeply grateful to be part of this institution’s remarkable history and heritage,” says Gregory Kane, MD ’87, chair of Jefferson’s Department of Medicine. “Having my name on the Alumni Legacy Wall is a way of saying it out loud.”

Our past is a solid foundation on which to reimagine the future of healthcare, and Jefferson’s alumni are the best prepared to make it happen. You are the stewards of our legacy and the pioneers of our future. You are Jefferson, and the Pinizzotto-Ammon Alumni Center is your home, whether you’re on campus for a class reunion or just visiting. Jefferson’s Alumni Relations offices are now housed at the Center, so there’s always a fresh pot of coffee and a friendly face should you stop by.

No matter how far you go or for how long, you’re always welcome home.

P.S. To make a gift in support of the Pinizzotto-Ammon Alumni Center or to see your name in lights on our Alumni Legacy Wall, contact me at 215-503-5138 (office), 215-620-4482 (mobile), or elizabeth.dale@jefferson.edu