Faces behind the places: Compassion, generosity helped build key facilities

June 26, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources,

Walking the halls of Michigan Medicine, you hear names like Kellogg, Von Voigtlander and Upjohn. These names are forever associated with some of the top education, research and clinical care facilities in the world.

There is a story behind each name — stories of families who are rooted deeply in U-M history.

As the university celebrates its bicentennial in 2017, Headlines is taking a look at some of Michigan Medicine’s most well-known facilities.

W.K. Kellogg Eye Center

Breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, blinded by glaucoma late in his life, once said: “I would give all my money just to see the sun and green grass again.”

With that desire in mind, the foundation he founded in 1930 has worked for more than 35 years to make sure as many patients as possible get world-class eye care.

A gift from the Kellogg Foundation in 1981 led to the establishment of the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center at Michigan Medicine, one of the most renowned institutions of ophthalmic research and treatment.

In 2012, the foundation offered additional support to the eye center to help ophthalmologists address inequities in children’s eye care, including support for improved eye care for premature babies and providing eyeglasses for children in need.

Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital

In 1980, five years after marrying Jane Bundon, Theodor “Ted” Reinalt Von Voigtlander was rushed to University Hospital after one of his lungs collapsed. The retail tire mogul was so impressed with the care he received that he expressed his gratitude with a major gift. Today, the pulmonary unit in Michigan Medicine is named after the Von Voigtlanders.

But the family’s contributions didn’t end there.

In 2009, a gift came to the organization from the Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation to support the construction of a new women’s hospital. At the time, it was the largest gift ever made to U-M dedicated solely to women’s health.

Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital is home to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Center for Reproductive Medicine. It also houses the Birthing Center, Holden Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, High Risk Pregnancy Clinic and Perinatal Assessment Center.

Rachel Mary Upjohn Building and Lobby

The light-filled U-M building that houses its Depression Center and the lobby of the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center are named for Rachel Mary Upjohn, who was known later in life as Mary Meader.

Meader was a grandchild of W.E. Upjohn, founder of Upjohn Co. — a pharmaceutical manufacturing firm. W.E. Upjohn graduated from the U-M Medical School in the late 1800s and was the inventor of the first pill that dissolved easily in the human body.

To honor her father, Mary Meader and her husband, Edwin Meader, helped spur the growth of many med school programs and facilities. In addition to establishing a professorship and research fund at Kellogg, the Meaders also made a major gift to launch the center’s expansion campaign. The university named the lobby of the new building in honor of Mary Meader and her grandmother, who shared the same birth name: Rachel Mary Upjohn.

Well aware of the prevalence of depression in this country, Mary Meader also provided generous support to depression research. In addition to supporting a fellowship program and professorship, in 2003 Meader made a major gift to construct a building to house the U-M Depression Center. The building was named for Rachel Upjohn.

For a glimpse behind the names of other Michigan Medicine facilities, including C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the Frankel Cardiovascular Center, click here.

And if you’re interested in learning more about the history of the university, check out upcoming bicentennial events that are free and open to Michigan Medicine faculty and staff.