Family’s Gift Is a Legacy of Devotion to Jefferson

Pinizzotto-Ammon Alumni Center Desk Bears the Name of Beloved Husband and Father

Brightly lit walls lined with shelves of historical artifacts, including old textbooks and ancient medical tools. A large glass case enclosing a vintage nurse’s uniform. Yearbooks that beckon back to earlier days. These are the vestiges of the past that give a sense of nostalgia to those who visit Jefferson’s Pinizzotto-Ammon Alumni Center in the present and will provide a historical framework for all who visit in the future. This is the homecoming that awaited the Cole family when they returned to the Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC).

The Coles—Daniel Cole, MD’84; his wife, Diane, a former Jefferson nurse; and his mother, Molly—recently traveled from their home in Pittsburgh to tour the new Alumni Center. Upon their arrival, they found it so “warm and inviting” that they soon settled into a large sofa and began leafing through a 1956 Jefferson Medical College yearbook. “Just being here brings back wonderful memories,” Molly says, stopping to linger on a page with a black-and-white photo of her husband, Charles Cole, MD’56.

Charles passed away in 2009, but his legacy lives on at the center on the reception desk plaque engraved with his name; the desk was named in his honor in gratitude for a generous donation that the Coles made to the center.

As Molly flips through the pages, pointing out people she remembered fondly, she exclaims, “Chuck loved it here. It was very meaningful to him.” And it was meaningful to her, as well—they dated while he was a student at Jefferson, and married shortly after his second year. After he graduated, the couple moved back to Pittsburgh, where Charles worked as a family practitioner for 40 years and Molly worked as a nurse.

Daniel, thumbing through the folios of his own yearbook, found photos of friends and colleagues—and Doc Watson’s Pub (which closed in 2010), a favorite hangout for the members of his class of 1984.

“To say that my four years here were incredible is an understatement,” says Daniel, who chose Jefferson for medical school because his father always credited his success to the outstanding training he received there. “I was fortunate to meet some wonderful people here whom I still keep in touch with.”

After graduating from medical school, Daniel completed a general surgery residency at the Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh (now UPMC Mercy), then returned to Jefferson for a residency in urology. He currently practices in Wexford, Pennsylvania.

Coming “home” to Jefferson, Daniel was able to find many of his former classmates and friends on the interactive Alumni Legacy Wall, which includes the names of hundreds of graduates of Jefferson Medical College, now SKMC.

“It’s fascinating to see the familiar names—people I haven’t been in touch with, but will definitely attempt to reconnect with,” he says.

When he heard about the new Alumni Center, Daniel’s first thought was, “It’s a wonderful idea!” Such a good idea, in fact, that the family wanted to contribute to making it a reality—and in doing so, honor the memory of the father, father-in-law, and husband they all loved.

“The center encourages alumni to reconnect with classmates and Jefferson alumni across the country. It’s a place to go to bump into individuals you may know, or individuals that you may not know, and individuals that you would like to get to know,” Daniel says. “If I would have one wish, it would be for more alumni to come back and revisit Jefferson—and reflect on our time here.”