A YEARLONG CELEBRATION
It was a birthday celebration that continued throughout the year, as 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of University Health System.The Robert B. Green Memorial Hospital opened its doors on Feb. 2, 1917. And 100 years later on that same date, an anniversary reception took place under a massive white tent raised a few steps from the front door of the original hospital building. Elected officials and members of the community mingled “under the stars with staff and physicians — past and present — at the elegant, evening event. San Antonio’s Poet Laureate, Carmen Tafolla, read “You Were There,” a poem she composed for the occasion.
Artist Leticia Huerta created an anniversary poster unveiled at the event. And on a big-screen monitor just outside the tent, a video narrated by poet Naomi Shihab Nye described University Health System’s mission and values.
James Adams, chair of the Bexar County Hospital District Board of Managers, took the opportunity to talk about the people who bring University Health System’s mission to life.
“Healthcare is a public good — a special, sacred, humbling ministry,” Mr. Adams said. “Today, we’re not celebrating a building or an industry, but the sacred mission of real people. We honor the people engaged in this calling today, as well as all of those who served with us over the past century. Thank you for saving lives. Thank you for bringing your skills and knowledge to bear in ways that are compassionate and loving. We are all better because of you.”
Bexar County Commisssioners Court passed a resolution marking the significance of the anniversary. Senate Resolution 347 and House Resolution 1887 were enacted in the Texas Legislature, urging “the board of managers and leadership of University Health System to continue the legacy of Judge Green by providing the highest level of care, service, and compassion to the people of Bexar County for the next 100 years.” Members of University Health System’s leadership team traveled to Austin to be recognized in both chambers.
The anniversary celebration continued with San Antonio’s biggest party of the year — Fiesta. University Health System commissioned a parade float, Blazing Trails in Medicine: University Health System celebrating 100 years, built by Southwest Parade. The float was part of San Antonio Battle of Flowers Parade and the Fiesta Flambeau Parade on April 28 and 29. Staff and physicians made up the eight riders, 20 flag bearers and four banner holders that accompanied the float at each event. It won third place for best small commercial float in the Flambeau parade.
An elaborate 100th anniversary interactive website was created that allows people to move through the past century, clicking on significant years in the Health System’s history to learn about important events and milestones.
And as the year wound down, work was underway for a commemorative book that will be published by Trinity University Press, as well as a permanent history exhibit downtown.
Neither the history lesson — nor the celebrating — will end with the start of a new year. Both University Hospital and the School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio will mark their 50th anniversary in 2018.