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SwedishAmerican celebrates 100th anniversary of founding

June 1, 2011

Staff Report

SwedishAmerican Hospital will celebrate the 100th year of its founding Monday, June 6. The highlight of the celebration will be the opening of the SwedishAmerican Heritage Center.

The grand opening and ribbon-cutting of the Heritage Center will be at 3:30 p.m. Visitors to the center will be treated to more than 85 historical artifacts augmenting the presentation of SwedishAmerican Hospital’s history and culture, as well as special exhibits on Women’s Services, The School of Nursing, Cardiology, Surgery, Obstetrics, Orthopedics, Pharmacy, Polio and “Quack Medical Devices.”

Former physicians, nurses, trustees and administrators will “speak” to visitors via interactive, computerized presentations.

The Heritage Center was developed over a period of five years, requiring more than $1 million of private, donor-provided funds for physical construction and exhibit development.

In addition to the ribbon cutting for the Heritage Center, SwedishAmerican will also recognize nationally-recognized local artist Tom Heflin, who has created a mural depicting the history of SwedishAmerican. The mural is on a wall overlooking the Heritage Center. The project took Heflin six weeks from beginning work in his studio to applying canvas to the wall to finishing the painting on site.

Refreshments will be served, and local barbershop quartet Tsunami Quartet will perform.

One of the people attending the ribbon cutting will be E. Wynn Presson, SwedishAmerican’s president and CEO from 1971 through 1977. Presson now resides in Austin, Texas.

Tuesday, June 7, from 7 to 9 a.m., SwedishAmerican will hold its annual Quality Expo for community and business leaders. The Heritage Center will be featured, but the keynote speaker will be Dr. Timothy Johnson, medical editor for ABC News for 25 years. Johnson has provided on-air medical analysis for Good Morning America, World News Tonight, Nightline and 20/20. Dr. Johnson was born at SwedishAmerican and grew up in Rockford. His topic at the Expo will be “Healthcare Reform.”

Wednesday, June 8, will be the health system’s Give Back To The Community Day, featuring a Duck Derby at 10 a.m. Dr. Bill Gorski, president and CEO, will select ducks that have been purchased out of the State Street Fountain for a variety of prizes. All money raised will be given to Carpenter’s Place and Rockford Day Nursery. The SwedishAmerican Foundation has agreed to match all money raised from selling ducks.

Bed races will take place Thursday, June 9, beginning at noon, outside the Heart Hospital on old Charles Street. The beds are to be decorated with a 100-year theme. People can vote for the beds with coins/money, which will be donated to SwedishAmerican’s Employee Disaster Fund.

Friday, June 10, the annual Founders Day picnic and Neighborhood Festival will be held. The luncheon for employees and volunteers will be from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in a large tent near Camelot Tower. The festival, with free rides and refreshments, will be from 3 to 7 p.m. at Beattie Playground on Rural Street.

The festival is open to all neighborhood families as well as SwedishAmerican employees and their families. It is a celebration of SwedishAmerican’s heritage and commitment to central Rockford. In addition, Friday will be Show Your Colors Day. Employees will be wearing purple Centennial T-shirts, with the new Centennial logo.

SwedishAmerican’s 100th anniversary will be celebrated throughout the year via many different events and activities. In addition, there will be a centennial television ad, a history book written by Marketing Manager Paul Greenland, and other special centennial celebrations.

Although the treatments and technologies have changed since SwedishAmerican first opened its doors, their commitment has not. Today, the health system is just as devoted to the alleviation of sickness and suffering as they were at the time of its founding.

From June 1-7, 2011 issue

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