Gerald Putman, executive director of the Decker Foundation, speaks at the grand opening and ribbon-cutting celebration for the Decker Student Health Services Center on Jan. 18.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Decker Foundation grant ‘transforming’Tweet
When the University Health Service first opened in 1966 as an infirmary and outpatient clinic, it held 34 beds and served a student population of 6,000. Now, through the support of a $1.5 million gift from the Dr. G. Clifford and Florence B. Decker Foundation, the building has been transformed into an efficient, well-equipped health service center that can serve 15,000+ students.
A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Decker Student Health Services Center was held Tuesday, Jan. 18, celebrating the enhancements funded by the Decker gift, including renovations throughout the building, new equipment and, by the fall, the implementation of an electronic medical records system.
“Thank you to the Decker Foundation,” said C. Peter Magrath, interim president. “This is a wonderful facility, a perfect match with the Decker School of Nursing and a signal that the University – thanks to the Decker Foundation – is really on the move. This is a great place.”
With 17 examination rooms now, up from seven, as well as improved lab and medication storage areas, new equipment and room for additional practitioners, the center can provide more efficient, high-quality service to students, said Brian Rose, vice president for Student Affairs. “The Decker gift has met our need to improve our capacity to get our students well. It was a pressing need and we are extraordinarily grateful to the Decker Foundation. I’m sure that before, some students walked in and walked right back out again due to the way the facility looked. That won’t happen any longer and we can now provide more efficient care. On behalf of our students and staff, I truly thank the Decker Foundation for its transforming gift.”
New equipment, including an “ear cam” – a digital camera attached to an otoscope that can take a digital photo of a student’s ear and upload it to his or her electronic medical record – and blood pressure/pulse machines, have been covered by grant.
The Decker Foundation is the University’s largest lifetime donor, said Vice President for External Affairs Marcia Craner, with gifts now totaling $6.4 million. “The Decker School of Nursing, the Decker Fellowship in Nursing, the Decker Chair in Community Health Nursing, support for the School of Management and the Decker School, the Decker Chair in Rural Health Nursing – all of these gifts have helped move this University forward,” she said. “And our nursing graduates form the core of healthcare and lifesaving work we’re doing here in the region.”
An early lead gift for the University’s Bold.Brilliant.Binghamton Campaign, the $1.5 million from the Decker Foundation provided for upgrades to the Health Service facility, without changing the building’s footprint. What’s exciting, said Director of Health and Counseling Services Johann Fiore Conte, is how the renovations will benefit students. “The entire grant has provided opportunities for us to implement a number of initiatives that will assist us in continuing to provide high-quality healthcare in student-centered ways,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of the Decker Foundation board, Executive Director Gerald Putman said, “It’s truly a privilege to be here to add another facet to this jewel we call Binghamton University. Over the last 20 years, the relationship between the Decker Foundation and the University has become strong, as a result of the guiding influence of Lois B. DeFleur, and it’s because of her vision we stand here today.
“Dr. Decker had a passion for health care and a passion for education,” Putman added. “Dr. and Mrs. Decker are smiling as we dedicate this center to their memory.’