To honor a father and a mother
Date: April 1, 2012
The Johns Hopkins Hospital's new buildings are named in memory of two beloved, hard-working parents who raised strong political leaders. The structures were made possible in part from substantial donations from Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The Sheikh Zayed Tower is named for Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who led the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from its formation in 1971 until his death in 2004. He is credited with guiding the establishment of the federation and was the ruler of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven emirates.
In April 2007, Johns Hopkins Medicine Dean/CEO Edward Miller, Johns Hopkins Hospital President Ronald R. Peterson and former Johns Hopkins University President William Brody flew to Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, for a whirlwind, 17-hour visit. They met with Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his younger brother, Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan—sons of the late UAE ruler.
The Hopkins emissaries’ journey concluded with a “transformational gift” from Sheikh Khalifa to support construction of Hopkins Hospital’s new cardiovascular and critical care tower, as well as provide funds for cardiovascular and AIDS research. The amount of the gift, made in memory of the Sheikhs’ father, was not disclosed at the donor’s request.
Johns Hopkins had been developing a relationship with the UAE for some 20 years. Since at least 1988, Johns Hopkins International’s team of representatives had been coordinating tailored care by Hopkins physicians for patients arriving from the UAE or by dispatching doctors to make intercontinental house calls.
And Johns Hopkins Medicine’s ties to the UAE extended far beyond treating patients. A business relationship developed over a number of years with Abu Dhabi’s government health authority, leading to a 10-year contract, signed in 2006, for Hopkins to manage Tawam Hospital, the UAE’s most prestigious health care facility. Harris Benny, then-CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine International, observed that the “whole relationship has grown from strength to strength.”
Honoring a parent was behind another substantial donation, in 2008, by Mayor Bloomberg, the university’s most generous alumnus. He bestowed a mammoth gift for building of the children’s inpatient tower, to be named for his then-99-year-old mother, Charlotte, who still was active in Medford, Mass., where she raised the future 1964 Hopkins electrical engineering graduate and business media mogul. Mrs. Bloomberg died in 2011 at the age of 102.
Charlotte Bloomberg was born in Jersey City, N.J. She graduated from high school at 16 and is often credited by her son for his strong work ethic and belief in the importance of giving back.
Coming from a modest, middle-class background (his father was the bookkeeper at a local dairy), Mayor Bloomberg worked as a parking attendant at the Johns Hopkins Club to help support himself as an undergraduate in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. He has been a tireless supporter of Hopkins for decades, from his chairmanship of the university’s board of trustees to his dedication to what now is known as the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“It’s a rare privilege to be able to thank simultaneously two of the most important forces in my life: my mother and my alma mater,” Mayor Bloomberg said in announcing his gift. “I couldn’t be prouder that future generations of children will associate the unsurpassed care and comfort they’ll receive at the Center with a woman who provided those very same qualities to me.”
In keeping with his longstanding commitment to public health and the arts, Bloomberg played a major role in overseeing both the exterior design and interior artwork in the Children’s Center. Its exterior is enveloped by patterned clear glass featuring 26 different hues and surrounded by gardens; its interior is enlivened by more than 300 works of original art.