Gov. Deval Patrick headlined a host of politicians and other dignitaries who marked the official opening of the Albert Sherman Center on Wednesday, Jan. 30, offering praise at the collaborative effort that allowed the building to be envisioned, funded and constructed and marveling at the promise of transformative research and education that will take place within the building’s walls.
“We see our state in tomorrow, and it’s incumbent on all of us to work every day in that spirit,” said Gov. Patrick. “Those synergies between the business, academic and medical communities are working. They are helping here in Worcester at the medical school and elsewhere in different parts of our commonwealth in a whole host of ways.”
“To change the course and history of disease—that, and no less, is what brings us here today,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins. “Within the walls of this stunning building . . . education will be enriched, remarkable research breakthroughs will be achieved and patient care will be advanced. It is our moment and we are poised to deliver the full promise it represents.”
The building’s namesake, former Vice Chancellor of University Relations Albert “Albie” Sherman, passed along wisdom from his own father, who said, “No one ever stands as tall as when he or she stoops to help another. For the men and women who will rise before dawn and work until well after dusk to fulfill the promise of the Sherman Center, may you stoop and rise up and may the fruits of your labor be an end to the suffering of too many.”
Saying he was honored to represent the faculty of UMMS at the ceremony, 2006 Nobel Laureate Craig C. Mello, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine and distinguished professor of molecular medicine and cell and developmental biology said, “We are deeply honored by the faith you have showed in us by making this building possible.”
Dr. Mello echoed the 10 powerful sentences uttered by President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, saying “We too are met on a great battlefield, a battlefield in the war against disease and human suffering.” He noted that the battle continues and much is left to be done to combat the world’s toughest diseases, such as the diabetes that afflicts his own daughter. In his closing he addressed his colleagues, students and others, saying “Yes, the world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but they will remember what we do here. Indeed, it could make all the difference.”
State Senate President Therese Murray was one of many speakers who praised the building’s namesake. “I love Albie Sherman. He’s absolutely one of the good guys,” said Murray. “This building is so befitting of Albie. It is big. It is great. It is wonderful,” agreed U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern.
Other speakers included Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, UMass President Robert L. Caret, Worcester City Manager Michael O’Brien, UMass Board of Trustees Chairman Henry Thomas, Katherine Craven from the UMass Building Authority and Susan Windham-Bannister, PhD, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.
An essential element of the governor’s Life Sciences Initiative, the Sherman Center is an interdisciplinary, state-of-the-art research and education facility designed to maximize interaction and collaboration among researchers, educators and learners to encourage innovation and learning across disciplines. It will be home to the UMMS Advanced Therapeutics Cluster, comprising the RNA Therapeutics Institute, the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and the Gene Therapy Center; the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; and the interprofessional Center for Experiential Learning and Simulation.
At 512,000 square feet, the Sherman Center includes research space for more than 100 investigators, six learning community centers, auditorium seating for 350, a cafeteria and a fitness center.
Read how the external media covered the event:Worcester Telegram & Gazette: UMass research center dedicatedWorcester Telegram & Gazette SLIDESHOW: Albert Sherman Center at UMassWorcester News Tonight: A vision realizedGoLocalWorcester: Top Dems Turn Out for UMass Med’s Sherman Center Opening