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Remembering Jim Guidry Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
Galveston County
University of Texas Medical Branch
News Release with photos courtesy UTMB/Mark Navarro
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Confetti-firing cannons signal “demolition” of buildings to make room
for UTMB’s new Jennie Sealy Hospital

Photos courtesy UTMB/Mark Navarro.At a noontime celebration today at UTMB, staff and community members gathered at the Waverley Smith Pavilion to mark the beginning of the new Jennie Sealy Hospital Construction Project.

UTMB President Dr. David Callender opened the ceremony. Other speakers included The Sealy & Smith Foundation President John Kelso, Texas State Rep. Craig Eiland, Texas State Rep. Larry Taylor and Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski.

After the speeches, UTMB’s Bob Scott, senior workforce development consultant, led the crowd in a countdown, as Callender and other dignitaries gathered to push a ceremonial plunger confetti detonator. At the moment of the plunge, confetti cannons were detonated, a special banner was unveiled and audience members popped their confetti party poppers — all to the tune of Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop.”

Dr. Callender’s Address

Welcome, everyone. What a beautiful day. This is definitely a great day to celebrate the future of UTMB and Galveston. This celebration is happening because of the hard work, dedication and support of everyone gathered here, and many more.

I’d like to recognize:

State Rep. Craig Eiland
State Rep. Larry Taylor
Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski
Mr. Dan Harper, who is representing Senator Steve Ogden

I also want to acknowledge the board members from The Sealy & Smith Foundation who are joining us today:

Mr. John Kelso and his wife Maggie
Mr. George Sealy and guest Dorothy Falkenberg
Mr. Fellman Seinsheimer
Mr. John Eckel
Mr. Mike Doherty and his wife Weez
Mr. Jim Galbraith and his wife Sally
Mr. Jere Pederson

We also have members of the Galveston Chamber of Commerce Board as well as many UTMB Development Board members with us. Thank you all for sharing this day with us and for your continued support of UTMB and our exciting plans for the future.

We’ve all been on a remarkable journey together. It’s unlikely any institution can claim the same successes we’ve had under the circumstances we’ve been through. And now the future looks even brighter, as we move forward with our plans to build the new Jennie Sealy Hospital.

This new facility, while important to the future of UTMB, is even more critical to the entire state, as it will provide a state-of-the-art training ground for future health care professionals. UTMB graduates more health care professionals than any other Texas institution. We take great pride in the students we educate, and what they will achieve as they go out into the world to improve the future of health care.

The Jennie Sealy Hospital will provide the cutting-edge, team-based real-world “classroom” our students and faculty deserve, as well as the most advanced care for our patients. Its patient- and family-centered environment will offer a unique approach to healing. It also will complement the great advances we are making in our research initiatives. Despite challenging times, each one of you has contributed to our successes which have made this great accomplishment possible. Through your efforts, we earned the confidence and support of our state leadership, who recognize the value of UTMB’s contributions. We are grateful to them for approving debt service of $150M in tuition revenue bonds for this new facility.

It is also through the generosity of The Sealy & Smith Foundation that we are well on our way toward raising the $438M that will be needed to build this beautiful hospital. The foundation’s $170M commitment to the Jennie Sealy Hospital, representing the largest single gift to a Texas health institution, illustrates the extraordinary support Sealy & Smith has provided UTMB over the years.

With this contribution, the foundation has cumulatively given nearly $800M to UTMB during its 89-year history, and for that, we are truly grateful.

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