Kellogg Eye Center and Brehm Tower Dedication
April 23, 2010
Thank you all for being here on such an important day for our university.
As we celebrate this latest milestone in medical research and care at the University of Michigan, it’s worth noting that if the first chair of the Department of Ophthalmology had had his way, none of us would be here today.
Dr. George Frothingam was a wonderful physician who made a name for himself, and for the university, with the exceptional cataract care given to patients in the late 1800s. He helped put us on the map with his surgical skills.
He also gained notoriety by publicly opposing the Board of Regents for its decision to build a new hospital in Ann Arbor, rather than his preferred choice of Detroit. This vocal resistance may not have been the best career move on his part. Before leaving the university, he was known to have said, “One might as well undertake to raise oranges in Canada as to have a complete clinic in Ann Arbor.”
If only Dr. Frothingham could be here today – in Ann Arbor, home to the beautifully expanded and exceptionally equipped Kellogg Eye Center with the Brehm Tower. He would see, as we do today, a remarkable statement about the importance of medical research and quality care, and about the unremitting emphasis our university places on seeking new cures and treatments.
This was the thinking behind the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and its 1981 gift to support a University of Michigan eye care center that would be unlike any other. The Foundation was motivated by the wishes of its founder, Will Kellogg, who suffered from glaucoma and wanted his good fortune to go toward exceptional vision care.
“I would give all my money,” he said, “just to see the sun and green grass again.”
It is that simple desire to see the world that drives our students, our faculty and staff, and the generous donors who support the constant quest for answers at the Kellogg Eye Center.
In particular, we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude today to Bill and Dee Brehm, who have provided new momentum in our work to find a cure for Type I diabetes and its many debilitating effects, including blindness.
Bill and Dee – thank you for your faith in our research. You are helping us reach more lives than we’ll ever know.
That is what today is about: Impact. Since our earliest days, the University has been determined to make a difference. That continued with the wonderful support of the Kellogg Foundation, and today with the generosity of the Brehms. All this support, and the collaborative work being carried out in our labs and clinics, allows our patients to see a brighter future. To see the sun, and the green grass, and the power of discovery.