Fanfare for a monumental feat
Date: May 30, 2012
On the long-awaited day of April 12, Johns Hopkins Medicine leaders, philanthropists, elected officials and foreign dignitaries gathered to dedicate the Sheikh Zayed Tower and The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center they had helped to build. Each took the stage to a pulsing musical beat befitting rock star royalty and offered remarks brimming with gratitude, pride and commitment.
Performances by ribbon dancers, Peabody Conservatory musicians, school choirs, a Hopkins-based a cappella group and local singer/songwriter ellen cherry (who intentionally lowercases her name), gave expression to the healing properties of the new clinical buildings, filled with art and light.
Still, it was the jubilant “high five” between a pediatric patient and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg that best captured the spirit of the occasion.
In front of more than 1,000 guests, 9-year-old Gavin Michel-Baird spoke of his treatment at Hopkins Hospital and declared, “Now, I’m great!” He then introduced Bloomberg, who contributed $100 million to the construction of the Children’s Center. Cue the high five.
Speaking on behalf of his sister Marjorie Tiven as well, Bloomberg called the Children’s Center, named for their mother, an achievement that had surpassed “everything we could ever hope for.”
His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for whose great-grandfather the adult tower was named, spoke of the thousands of Emirati citizens who had received treatment at Hopkins.
Among the guests were Baltimoreans Thomas and Alice Eastman. As a board member of the Eudowood Foundation, Thomas Eastman spoke proudly of the board’s $10 million contribution to the new Children’s Center: “That makes us feel like we’re a part of the whole operation.”
Also present was installation artist Spencer Finch, who designed the colorful aluminum panels that wrap around the new buildings’ exteriors. It was “an honor and a joy” to be a part of the Hopkins project, Finch says. He was pleasantly surprised to see that his bright color-block design had been replicated on commemorative scarves and neckties. “I hope to get a scarf for my mom for Mother’s Day.”
We’ve captured both the pageantry and solemnity of the historic event in the photographic essay above by Keith Weller.