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  • CMU and SCL Health St. Mary's leaders discuss gift during Facebook Live event

    CMU and SCL Health St. Mary's leaders discuss gift during Facebook Live event.

Largest gift in university history establishes St. Mary's SCL Health Medical Education Center at Colorado Mesa University

In 1946, R.H Penberthy was president of the Board of Trustees for Mesa College and signed a deed transferring the land where St. Mary’s Medical Center sits today to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. As the new hospital was under construction, Penberthy could never have guessed more than a half a century later, his junior college would become a burgeoning university leading health education and that SCL Health St. Mary’s would reciprocate that gift from the past with the largest contribution in CMU history.

To announce the $3 million milestone investment in the St. Mary’s SCL Health Medical Education Center at CMU, St. Mary’s President Bryan Johnson joined CMU President Tim Foster and CMU Master of Physician Assistant Studies Director Amy Bronson, EdD, on campus. The three leaders discussed the project and highlighted the future of CMU and SCL Health St. Mary’s partnership.

“CMU and St. Mary’s have grown together throughout the last century and will prosper together in the coming decades thanks to this investment,” said Foster. “The leadership of St. Mary’s in advancing this long-standing partnership will pay community health dividends to people who live in the region for years to come.”

Foster and Johnson went to the construction site to monitor progress of the project and observed that the foundation is nearly complete. In addition to growing together, SCL Health St. Mary’s leadership also believes the two institutions have similar missions.

“Both St. Mary’s and CMU have a regional mission to serve,” said Johnson. “While CMU serves students, and we serve community health and wellness needs, the two purposes intersect. Many of our nurses and medical professionals graduate from CMU, and the training that will occur in the new facility will be essential for addressing future workforce needs. We also train many of the nurses and medical professionals who graduate from CMU. To have more of that training occurring in the new facility will be essential for addressing future workforce needs.”

CMU helping meet the needs of St. Mary’s is a central feature of the future partnership but is also a part of the past. In the 1950s and 1960s, CMU grew its nursing capacity to meet the parallel growth needs of St. Mary’s. This symbiotic relationship between the two is something that has inspired Bronson to advocate and work to build support for the project. 

“In addition to a much-needed building, the investment helps create an ability to continuously adapt the needs of each organization to one another’s and work together to prepare students to enter the medical and health workforce,” said Bronson.

Once complete, the medical education center will include 20,000 square feet and will house the physician assistant, occupational therapy and physical therapy programs. The co-location will create symmetry between the disciplines and enable inter-disciplinary collaboration.

The center will include classroom and clinical training space and will establish a foundation for future and emerging partnerships and collaboration.