What has become an annual formal fundraising event for the UConn Health Center, the White Coat Gala, returned for a fourth year Saturday at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.
The Gala raised more than $1.2 million to support Bioscience Connecticut, the state investment in the renovation and expansion of the Health Center introduced by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy two years ago.
“The UConn Health Center is transforming before our eyes,” said UConn President Susan Herbst. “This institution has had a proud history. The future looks even brighter thanks to Bioscience Connecticut and the forward thinking of Governor Dannel Malloy and the state legislature.”
Malloy was among the distinguished guests.
“We’re celebrating the past, present, and most importantly, the future, of the UConn Health Center,” Malloy said.
Before introducing the governor, Herbst noted the critical role of philanthropy in the success of Bioscience Connecticut.
“You can help the UConn Health Center become a national, even international, leader in personalized medicine, drug discovery and patient-centered care,” she said, telling the nearly 1,200 attendees that their support “helps fuel our ingenuity.”
Dr. R. Lamont MacNeil, dean of the UConn School of Dental Medicine, and Dr. Frank M. Torti, dean of the UConn School of Medicine and UConn Health Center executive vice president for health affairs, introduced the 2013 honorees:
- Dr. Thomas Taylor, professor and head of the UConn School of Dental Medicine Department of Reconstructive Sciences: Taylor is an internationally respected leader in prosthodontics and maxillofacial prosthetics. He has led the Department of Reconstructive Sciences since joining the dental school in 1989, and has led the Division of Prosthodontics and Operative Dentistry since 1992. He also has served as executive director of the American Board of Prosthodontics for the last 12 years.
- Dr. Richard Garibaldi (1942-2009), James E.C. Walker/PHS Professor of Medicine and chairman of the Department of Medicine: Garibaldi, remembered for his dedication to medicine and his patients during his 28-year career at the UConn Health Center, was honored posthumously. As a medical educator he was honored with many teaching awards from the internal medicine residency program and the recent dedication of the medical school’s Richard A. Garibaldi Humanitarianism in Medicine Award.
- The Chase family: David and Rhoda Chase, Arnold and Sandra Chase, and Cheryl Chase and Stuart Bear are credited with generously supporting research and patient care programs. Their philanthropy established the Chase Family Skeletal Biology Fund and the Chase Family Chair in Juvenile Diabetes, and supports the Department of Dermatology, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The honorees were presented with the Carole and Ray Neag Medal of Honor. Richard M. Garibaldi accepted on his father’s behalf. Herbst then announced a surprise fourth recipient: UConn President Emeritus and University Professor Philip Austin, who in retirement returned as interim president until Herbst’s arrival in 2011, then served as interim vice president for health affairs at the UConn Health Center until Torti arrived last year.
“Even in retirement, Phil has shown unparalleled commitment,” Herbst said. “Phil, you are a dedicated leader and a great friend to the UConn family. On behalf of the entire University, thank you for everything you have given to UConn.”
Richard and Jane Lublin of Avon were the title sponsors of the White Coat Gala again this year.