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September 21, 2011
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Upstate celebrates 75th anniversary of FDR visit

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Upstate Medical University will celebrate the 75th anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s laying of the cornerstone for the medical school building now known as Weiskotten Hall with a ceremony Sept. 22 at 10:30 a.m. in the Weiskotten Hall courtyard, 766 Irving Ave.

The program will include the unveiling of a historical marker and the creation of the Roosevelt Fund for Civic Engagement at Upstate that will help fund student community service activities.

“Upstate Medical University and its predecessors are part of Syracuse’s rich history and we are honored to commemorate President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s visit to Syracuse 75 years ago with the Syracuse community,” said Upstate Medical University President David R. Smith, M.D. “By his presence in our fair city and by his laying of the cornerstone for what today is Weiskotten Hall, President Roosevelt acknowledged the importance of a firm foundation for the future of medical education, not just in Syracuse, but across the United States.

“Additionally, President Roosevelt’s participation in this event in 1936, called attention to the benefit of economic renewal for the public good,” Smith added. “Funded by the Public Works Administration, Weiskotten Hall rose out of uncertain economic times, much like we have today. And today, inside its walls, it provides a setting for medical education and research that benefits us all.”

Smith will be joined in his remarks by Dennis Connors of the Onondaga Historical Association and others. As part of the program, Upstate will recognize individuals in attendance who participated in the cornerstone laying in 1936. Medical student Tara O’Reggio will sing the National Anthem.

The trowel that was used by Roosevelt at the event will be on exhibit, along with photos from Roosevelt’s visit. A portrait of Roosevelt by Syracuse artist Susan Keeter, also will be unveiled.

When Roosevelt laid the cornerstone in 1936, Weiskotten Hall was part of Syracuse University’s College of Medicine. SU’s College of Medicine was acquired by the State University of New York in 1950. The building was named in 1972 for Herman G. Weiskotten, M.D., who served as medical college dean from 1920 to 1951.

The actual ceremony with Roosevelt took place on Sept. 29, 1936, but to avoid a conflict with Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 28 and 29), Upstate decided to commemorate the occasion a week earlier.

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