ALTON — Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine’s new and expanded presence in Alton earned an Award of Achievement from Pride Inc., a local nonprofit organization dedicated to community beautification.
The award recognizes the construction of the school’s Multidisciplinary Simulation Laboratory and adjacent space, an 18,000-square-foot, $9.5 million project of which $4.1 million was funded by a grant from the state’s Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
SDM faculty began using the new addition in January. More than 100 pre-doctoral students are estimated to use the facility during the first and second years of their four-year dental education.
SDM Dean Dr. Bruce Rotter, a 1982 alumnus of the school, accepted the award at Pride’s annual meeting March 6.
“For over 40 years, the School of Dental Medicine and the city of Alton have been partners, working in cooperation to support community improvement and beautification efforts,” Rotter said. “It is truly meaningful to be recognized as a quality partner to the city of Alton.
“The city has provided students, staff and faculty a safe environment in which to work and live since the dental school began operations.”
Karen Wilson, former president of Pride, said the organization was excited to have an opportunity to recognize a school for its beautification efforts.
“There is an acknowledgement that not all we teach is found in a textbook or in a classroom,” Wilson said. “Our actions, our priorities and our respect for the things around us can speak louder than the words on a page or from the mouths of instructors. SIU School of Dental Medicine is such a school. It has continued to improve the landscape of its campus and has been a loyal and generous community partner.”
The school has embraced the history of the area, Wilson said, noting that the Robert Wadlow Statue and the 8-foot, 11.1-inch “Gentle Giant’s” boyhood home are both on the school’s Alton Campus.
“The School of Dental Medicine has protected the oldest building in the state of Illinois, Loomis Hall, that has been continuously dedicated to education,” Wilson said. “This hall has housed the Alton Museum of History and Art for decades.
“The school also beautifies, maintains and adds new facets to the grounds, preserving Robert Wadlow’s legacy as a large part of its campus. Pride applauds these efforts, and we appreciate the school’s investment in the students and our community.”
Pride Executive Director Heather Hope said the SIU School of Dental Medicine was selected for the beautification honor, in large part, due to its major reinvestment in the community paired with its ongoing efforts to maintain Alton’s history. That includes the school’s partnership with the museum to preserve the former Shurtleff College, which was built in 1832 on that same site.
“The Dental School has been a longtime source of pride for the city of Alton,” Hope said. “I was raised in Alton, just a few blocks from the Dental School campus.
“Today, my family and I continue to have a place to share that is a unique part of history, thanks to a great extent to the dedicated efforts of the school and its longstanding commitment to local preservation.”
This article is from SIUE's website, http://www.siue.edu/.