November 13, 2007
Gwynn Akin Bowers addresses members of the Tulane community at the dedication of the new School of Medicine auditorium named in her honor. (Photos by Paula Burch-Celentano)
The Tulane School of Medicine unveiled a high-tech auditorium at its Poydras Street headquarters on Friday (Nov. 9), dedicating it as the Dr. Gwynn Collins Akin Bowers Auditorium and celebrating with Tulane administrators, faculty and students, and honoree Gwynn Akin Bowers.
The facility at 1555 Poydras St. was made possible by philanthropy from Bowers, a Tulane alumna, who shared credit for her gift with her two daughters, Carrie Parham and Margaret Guilbault, and with Robert Sparks, a former dean of the Tulane School of Medicine.
Because of Sparks’ prior association with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as its president, there was a generous matching grant associated with Bowers’ gift.
The new auditorium will contribute vitally to medical education at Tulane, according to N. Kevin Krane, professor of medicine and vice dean for academic affairs.
In the foyer of the new auditorium, guests including Tulane President Scott Cowen celebrate the new facility that will used for lectures, academic activities and community outreach events.
Seating for 195 people in the facility will accommodate large audiences for classroom activities as well as for lectures by visiting professors and a variety of other uses including concerts and community outreach events.
The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment for digital, multimedia presentations.“Our goal was to be as technologically advanced as possible,” Krane said.
With her family and friends in the audience, Bowers spoke highly of the university in her remarks at the ceremony.
“As is often the case, a great tragedy, such as Hurricane Katrina, can provide great opportunity,” Bowers said. “Opportunity, however, becomes reality only when guided by strong leaders who have great vision. Tulane is indeed fortunate to have such leaders. After all, donors seldom just give to institutions. They prefer to invest in the ideas of people they respect and believe.
When installation is complete, the auditorium will have seating for 195 people and state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment.
“Tulane is in a more competitive environment for medical centers than ever before,” Bowers added. “The costs for facilities, equipment and attracting and retaining the best people, who are necessary to be preeminent, have never been greater. Those funding needs will only increase.”
Bowers, who received a PhD in anatomy from the School of Medicine in 1965, is retired from Syntex Corp., a multinational pharmaceutical company, where she was a vice president.
Her career has comprised responsibilities in academia, government agencies and the private sector. Since 2004, she has been a member of the School of Medicine Dean’s Advisory Council.
Bowers ended her remarks with a quote from the late newspaper advice columnist Ann Landers: “Do your givin’ while you’re livin’... then you’ll be knowin’ where it’s goin’.” Bowers said she “was very glad to know where her givin’ was goin’.”
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