Penn State College of Medicine Alumni Update

With Help from the PNC Foundation

A Dream Becomes a Reality

Building a freestanding children’s hospital has long been a dream of many at Penn State Hershey Medical Center and now, thanks to the help of great corporate partners like PNC, this dream is finally coming true.

The PNC Foundation recently made a $1 million contribution to the Medical Center towards the construction of a new children’s hospital. This gift will be used to name a Learning Wall in the new building that will serve as a warm, welcoming focal point for children and families when they first enter the hospital.

This is actually the second major philanthropic contribution by PNC in support of the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital Building Campaign. In 2006, the PNC Foundation made its first $1 million grant to the Medical Center to name the PNC Child and Family Resource Center, which will offer a nurturing and supportive place for families to learn about childhood illnesses, health and wellness.

In addition to these gifts to the children’s hospital building campaign, PNC has a long history of supporting the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. In years past, PNC has designated funds to construct the College of Biomedical Research Building and the Interfaith Chapel, and established scholarships.

So why does a regional bank care so much about supporting healthcare? As Dennis P. Brenckle, president, PNC Bank, Central Pennsylvania region, explains, “By supporting this world-class hospital to serve the children and families of central Pennsylvania, PNC and other companies can help enhance the quality of life in our region.”

PNC itself has a long history of philanthropic support for children and families. PNC’s “Grow Up Great” campaign is a 10-year, $100-million initiative that supports early childhood education, especially to underserved children. While PNC’s grants to the College of Medicine are not part of this initiative directly, PNC continues its commitment to improving the health, education and well-being of children in this region.

Yet PNC goes beyond writing a check. Brenckle himself serves as volunteer chair of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center’s Campaign Cabinet. Brenckle is proud to showcase PNC’s continuing support of the Medical Center and has personally made both financial and time commitments to this endeavor. “The PNC Learning Wall is an excellent extension of the educational assets we supported in providing a naming gift for the PNC Child and Family Resource Center five years ago,” he says.

Noting that this is the only children’s hospital available to families between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Brenckle adds, “It’s important to address the growing healthcare needs of the Hershey community and Central Pennsylvania region.”

This new Children’s Hospital project represents a sizable local investment that will help create 1,500 jobs – 300 during construction and another 1,200 after completion. With $14 million in Commonwealth public improvement funds supporting construction, Governor Edward G. Rendell says, “The Commonwealth invests in these kinds of projects because they open the door to new opportunities for our residents and create a better quality of life for our communities.”

Together, the new Children’s Hospital, PNC Learning Wall and Child and Family Resource Center will provide a place for high quality care to be delivered in a warm, natural setting.

The new $207 million, five-story Children’s Hospital, which broke ground last November, is being built adjacent to the Medical Center’s main entrance. Designed to be child-friendly, it is expected to be completed in 2012.

The facility will include five operating suites designed for children and adolescents, an eight-bed surgical recovery area, a cardiac catheterization lab for pediatric heart patients and significantly expanded space for pediatric intensive care – vital infrastructure needed to support the Hospital as the region’s only Level One Pediatric Trauma Center. It will also include expanded space for a pediatric Cancer Center.

All inpatient rooms will be private and include space for parents to spend the night with their child. In addition, several elements have been planned to provide children and families with a distraction from their worries: a meditation room, an outdoor roof terrace with green plants, and the interactive learning wall.

The new PNC Learning Wall will run the entire length of the first floor corridor connecting the entrance to the rear café, courtyard, and performing arts space. The structure will use glass and light to create a layered visual impact, with four dominant images representing the changing seasons in central Pennsylvania.

As a striking visual element, the wall will not only guide visitors and patients into the hospital but offer opportunities for families to reconnect with the natural world even as they enter this clinical setting.

“Once again, PNC has contributed generously to our efforts to offer quality care at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital,” said Penn State President Graham B. Spanier. “We are deeply grateful for their continuing commitment.”

Medical Center CEO Harold L. Paz, M.D., who also serves as Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, adds, “The PNC Learning Wall will play a vital role in creating a comforting, child- and family-friendly environment within the Children’s Hospital.

“Thanks to the generosity of PNC, now even the sickest children will have unique opportunities to play and to learn—in other words, to simply be kids.”

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