C.S. Mott's legacy: Philanthropist 'would not be disappointed' by U-M's new children's hospital
The University of Michigan’s top executives, health care leaders and athletic officials gathered with community leaders today to officially celebrate the completion of the $754 million C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.
But it was the legacy of someone who could not attend the event that reminded attendees of the long-lasting power of philanthropy: Charles Stewart Mott, a founder of General Motors and former Flint mayor whose $6.5 million gift in 1965 launched the original Mott Hospital building.
When Mott himself attended a celebration of the opening of the building in 1969, he was in awe, according to a story recounted today by C.S. Mott Foundation CEO Bill White.
Jeff Sainlar | AnnArbor.com
Jeff Sainlar | AnnArbor.com
“He said it will be a long time before any community exceeds or even equals what you have here,” White said, retelling the story today at a ribbon cutting ceremony in the Charles Woodson Lobby of the new 1.1 million-square-foot building. “I would say those words are still true. And 40 years from now, maybe you’ll be saying that again at another ceremony, who knows?”
Mott, who died in 1973, gave his original gift to “enable some of the most progressive and effective pediatric care anywhere in the world,” U-M Health System CEO Ora Pescovitz said today.
“I believe that we have lived up to his goal," she added. "We wanted to live up to Mr. Mott’s generosity, and as we enter this new era of pediatric and maternal medicine at Michigan, I know that he would not be disappointed.”
The new facility includes a 12-story, 855,000-square-foot inpatient tower and a 9-story, 245,000-square-foot clinic facility. It has 348 inpatient rooms, 50 maternity rooms, 48 neonatal intensive care rooms and 15 operating rooms that will be open right away in addition to 5 that will open eventually.
The building will house about 6,000 employees, including 500 new workers hired by the U-M Health System over the last several months and next several weeks. The construction, authorized in 2005 and begun in 2006, employed about 1,200 Michigan workers.
In an addressed delivered to the crowd today by recorded video, Gov. Rick Snyder called the hospital “a great prescription for our ailing state economy.”
“The University of Michigan Health System is an innovative, aggressive jobs engine that attracts the brightest workers to Michigan. It also keeps young vibrant talent in our state,” Snyder said. “This new facility will touch every part of our state by making a world-class resource accessible for the care of children and pregnant women. When we think of critical care for children, we think of Mott. And when we think of Mott, we think of Michigan.”
Snyder also praised U-M’s financial stewardship, highlighting the fact that the construction project was paid for without any dollars from the state’s budget.
Officials also marked the occasion today by celebrating the $75 million that was raised from private donors to help fund the new facility’s construction.
“We have an exceptional environment that embodies the best of the University of Michigan,” U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said. “This is an incredible effort with incredible results.”
U-M athletics director David Brandon, who agreed to serve as a fundraising champion of the new hospital beginning while he was still serving as CEO of Domino’s Pizza, said he was consistently amazed at the inspiring stories of people whose lives were improved by Mott Hospital.
“What has been incredible over the last six years is as we’ve traveled around raising money you think your story is the only story,” he said. “There’s thousands of stories. The amount of people whose lives have been touched, the amount of children whose lives have been saved and women whose lives have been saved by the miracles workers who are associated with this facility is just incredible.”
Former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr, whose name graces an indoor playground at the hospital, also played a key role in the fundraising push. Today, he called the hospital’s opening “one of the great victories in the 194 years of this great university.”
“This, ladies and gentlemen, is what is known as a mountaintop experience,” Carr said.
The sparkling lobby at the ribbon cutting ceremony was jammed with hospital executives, university leaders, doctors, nurses, business executives and community officials.
The collection of so many high-level officials in the same room — and the tenor of the comments from the stage — reflected the significance of the moment and how long it took to get there.
When the process started, after all, “Coach was coaching football, I was selling pizza and the world has changed a little bit,” Brandon recalled. “But one thing that has not changed is our passion for this project.”