Fifty-nine years after opening its doors, the University of Florida College of Medicine once again welcomed students to a brand new facility — a facility uniquely and painstakingly designed to align with modern principles of teaching and learning.
The dedication ceremony, held on the first day of medical school for the first-year class, was a memorable debut for the George T. Harrell, MD, Medical Education Building. While we had hundreds of alumni, friends, faculty and students attend the celebration, I wish everyone connected with the College of Medicine could have been here to share in this significant accomplishment.
We realized quite some time ago that we could no longer learn about taking care of patients by sitting in lecture halls. Real medicine is practiced by teams of clinicians who come together in examination rooms, ORs or ICUs to heal patients. To make the transition from passive learning to active, team-based learning required a revised curriculum and the infrastructure to accommodate it.
It was not an easy journey from that understanding to the stunning structure that now stands at the northern edge of the Health Science Center. There was a massive effort by so many within the College of Medicine who gave their time, creativity and effort. But the reality is that the Harrell Medical Education Building would not be here today if not for a very special group of people.
With no state resources available to help fund construction of the building, we turned to our alumni and friends. The future of medical education at the University of Florida was in your hands, and you responded with your hearts. In the early days, those who contributed to the Alumni Challenge helped provide the original seed money. They offered their resources and they showed us their faith when we had nothing to show them but a dream.
Nearly 2,000 individual gifts helped bring the new education facility to fruition. We are forever grateful for that investment from our alumni and friends. You invested in a dream, and it has paid incredible dividends, and you have left a wonderful legacy at the college.
We have not completed our fundraising efforts, however, as we continue to raise the balance of the project cost, but I am confident we will meet our goal. I know how important our students’ education is to our alumni and supporters. They are the future of our profession, and by investing in their education, you help ensure that the medical profession is in good hands.
Michael L. Good, MD
Dean, UF College of Medicine