Gratitude was the resounding message at a private dedication ceremony on November 19 for donors who named spaces in the new UConn Health Outpatient Pavilion, which opened in 2015. The Outpatient Pavilion accommodates nearly 4,000 visitors per day and houses an array of departments, including internal medicine, ophthalmology, general surgery, the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Center for Healthy Aging among others. Donors were honored by UConn Health administrators, physicians, nurses, and staff.
The new construction is part of the nearly $1 billion campus expansion program at UConn Health called Bioscience Connecticut, which also includes a new hospital tower, research lab renovations, and an addition to the academic building. Jennifer Elsdon, a patient at the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, spoke about what the new facility means for her—a dramatically different patient environment that’s calm, spacious, and comforting from the moment you walk in.
Carole and Ray Neag were recognized for transforming the cancer center that bears their name through many years of philanthropic support and engagement.
“Every time I talk about the Neags, I say the same thing. And every time it is fresh for me. Every day I am in awe of what Carole and Ray have done for our patients and our ability to conduct groundbreaking research,” said Pramod Srivastava, PhD, MD, director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Several donors were recognized alongside the Neags for their generous contributions toward the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, including Tom Walmsley, Abigail and David O’Brien, and Richard and Jane Lublin.
Tom Walmsley ’82 was joined by family and friends of his late wife to celebrate the dedication of the Maryann dePreaux Walmsley Cancer Center Library, which Dr. Srivastava called “an oasis” for patients undergoing treatment. DePreaux Walmsley ’98 was a dedicated volunteer and advocate for fellow patients. Her advice on the layout of the cancer center’s infusion space led to a patient-centered design with an open area where patients who thrive with the support of “battle buddies” can sit in proximity to each other.
Abigail O’Brien, a breast cancer survivor and fundraiser at the UConn Foundation, was honored for her and her husband’s gift to name a patient exam room in memory of her grandmother, Doris Simpson Letts, who survived breast cancer. The O’Briens also were acknowledged for their ongoing support for The Letts O’Brien Fund for Breast Cancer Research.
Richard and Jane Lublin were recognized in their absence for their remarkable support for cancer research by leading clinician-scientists including Upendra Hegde, co-director of the head and neck/oral oncology program. The main waiting room in the cancer center’s new home is named in honor of the Lublins.
During the final dedication of the evening, the UConn Health Auxiliary was honored for making the UConn Health Patient and Family Education Center a reality. Self-learning plays an important role in patients’ and caregivers’ health and well-being. The center, which has a presence on the second and third floors, provides comfortable seating areas and tables for gathering after receiving a diagnosis or to wait during appointments.
Posted by: Jennifer Huber