Message from Dean Richardson: The gift of 125

Dean Richardson09/28/12  Portland, OR

On Oct. 5, 1887, the first class of seven students began its course of study at what would become the OHSU School of Medicine. This year, thus, marks the 125th anniversary of our medical school. The school was a nucleus around which Oregon Health & Science University ultimately formed, making this year the anniversary of our entire university. I can think of no better way to mark our "quasquicentennial" than to say thank you to our faculty, students, alumni and the entire School of Medicine community, as well as to all Oregonians. All have played a part in creating and sustaining this great institution.

We've changed and grown in profound ways since 1887, and we will continue to evolve. In the coming weeks and months, you'll hear about events associated with a year-long celebration of this incredible milestone, including the School of Medicine's 125th Anniversary Lecture Series. During the lecture series, we will, together, imagine our future — what might the school look like 125 years from now (or perhaps more realistically, 25 years from now)? How will we have changed and what might we offer the community? We're inviting speakers who will catalyze compelling conversations about the opportunities of the future and the role of academic medicine in the 21st century.

As we embrace technological advances, more rapidly translate new discoveries, transform our curriculum and health care delivery models, and continue to forge new partnerships that leverage our foundational missions of healing, teaching, discovery and outreach, the possibilities for the coming decades are unlimited.

Our success is integrally linked to the essential work of all our missions, and our impact is strongest and enduring when those missions are balanced and integrated. A recognition of the strength of our combined missions to improve human health and well-being was on full display this past month with the transformational gift of $125 million from Nike co-founder and Chairman Phil Knight and his wife Penny.

This gift will establish the OHSU Cardiovascular Institute, an integrated center for translational research, clinical care, professional training and outreach in all aspects of heart and vascular disease. We are extremely grateful for this gift. And it only adds to the excitement that the gift of $125 million happens to coincide with our 125th anniversary.

All of us can take great pride in the recognition, and responsibility, bestowed on us by this gift and what it says about the quality of our faculty and programs. I want to call out in particular the leadership of Albert Starr, M.D., professor of surgery and co-inventor of the Starr-Edwards heart valve, and Sanjiv Kaul, M.D., professor of medicine and head of cardiovascular medicine, in developing the vision for this institute. The gift will allow OHSU to build the capacity for treating cardiovascular disease in a way that spans all of our missions – from prevention to transplantation to tissue regeneration – and encompasses the full continuum of biomedical science, from basic discovery to clinical research to drug and device development. The institute will also provide us with the ability to share state-of-the-art knowledge with the next generation of clinicians and scientists, to ensure that discovery and health care are always advancing.

In this quasquicentennial year since our founding, this gift indeed provides us with an opportunity to imagine and build one aspect of our future – one in which OHSU is a world leader and has the opportunity, and the honor, of continuing to improve human health.

Thank you for everything you do for OHSU, Oregon and the world. I look forward to celebrating 125 years – both past and future – with you.

Best Regards,

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson, MD, MBA
Dean, OHSU School of Medicine
President, Faculty Practice Plan