The Dr. James B. Duke and Mrs. Pamela H. Duke Student Lounge in the George T. Harrell, MD, Medical Education Building is a place where students gather to study, relax and meet in comfort. Recalling his first impression of the student lounge, James Duke, MD ’85, said, “It had a contagious spirit, an emotion. It was palpable. If Pam and I had to design and build a room, this would be it.”
The lounge, overlooking the bright two-story Steven M. Scott, MD, and Rebecca J. Scott Commons, is outfitted with tables and chairs for groups, couches, a large TV and even a microwave for snacks. As Duke describes the room, it can be studious or lively, but when you must be serious, this is the place to do it.
In the fall of 2015, the Dukes were touring the new Harrell Medical Education Building to name a room in honor of the class of 1985 reunion gift, of which Duke was the committee chair. Walking room to room, James and Pam Duke asked the development officers the donation amount required to name each one. After selecting Room 423 for The Class of 1985 Meeting Room, they said goodbye and parted ways.
“As we walked out the front door (of the Medical Education Building), Pam said, ‘We have to do something,’ and I replied, ‘You’re right,’” Duke emotionally explained.
That was the moment the Dukes decided that in addition to their existing involvement and contributions to the UF College of Medicine, they would personally commit a $125,000 gift to name the student lounge.
The Dukes felt compelled to give back at the request of Michael L. Good, MD, dean of the UF College of Medicine, and Jason Rosenberg, MD ’95, a UF trustee, as part of the Alumni Challenge. With 52 participants, the Challenge raised almost $1.2 million for the college. But James Duke’s dedication to the college does not stop here. An orthopaedic surgeon from Ocala, Florida, he serves as incoming UF Alumni Medical Board president and as a clinical assistant professor in the department of orthopaedics and rehabilitation.
The George T. Harrell, MD, Medical Education Building opened in August and provides a modern learning environment for the college’s students. It houses two learning studios, two student lounges, patient rooms, hospital rooms, classrooms, state-of-the-art technology for experiential and simulation learning and plenty of gathering space to catch the “contagious spirit” of the new home of the UF College of Medicine.