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Honoring Searle Family's Commitment to Student Health

November 15, 2010 | by Wendy Leopold
Nancy Searle helps President Morton Schapiro "check-in" at one of University Health Service's new digital kiosks in Searle Hall.
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Dr. John Alexander summed up the feelings of University Health Service and Counseling and Psychological Services staff about their newly expanded and completely rehabbed Searle Hall digs in four words. “This building really works!” said the medical director of the University Health Service at the Nov. 11 dedication of Searle Hall.

Dr. Alexander and John Dunkle, executive director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), stressed the importance of the new facility’s design in delivering contemporary college medical, counseling and outreach services.

 The expansion more than doubles the size of the original facility and, with everything under one roof, offers “one-stop shopping” for students’ health and counseling needs.

The new health care facility was made possible by a $1 million grant from the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust. The grant honors the late John G. Searle whose $800,000 gift made construction of the original Searle Hall possible half a century ago. The Searle family was honored for its continuing generosity and support of state-of-the-art student health care.

Vice President for Student Affairs William Banis served as “emcee” at the dedication that included remarks by President Morton Schapiro and Nancy Searle. Also attending was 2002 Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences alumna Kristin Searle, great-granddaughter of John G. Searle.

“This building continues John G.’s legacy to the students of Northwestern,” said Nancy Searle. “I think he would be very pleased that instead of tearing the original building down, the University was able to restructure it in a way that continues to serve students very well today and will serve students very well in the future.”

“We had stretched the capacity of the original Searle Hall to accommodate contemporary college health practice,” said Dr. Alexander.

Where physicians previously worked out of a single room that doubled as both an examination room and office, the new Searle Hall provides two examination rooms and separate office space for each physician, allowing for more efficient patient flow and better use of physician time.

The building now boasts two nearly identical medical clinics, increased and inviting office space, and reception areas and waiting rooms designed to protect patient privacy. It also includes an expanded laboratory and phlebotomy room, five new procedure rooms, digital X-ray equipment and radiology reading rooms.

The addition provides space for group therapy sessions and two large meeting rooms where substance abuse prevention, sexual health, suicide prevention and other important medical and mental health programming can take place.

Details about the building and Northwestern along with examples of medical technology of the day will be part of a time capsule that will be placed in a limestone pillar near Searle Hall’s front door. The time capsule that was originally placed behind a cornerstone of the building by John G. Searle will also be inserted.

After the dedication, Kristin Searle, a dual-degree doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, led a discussion, with senior lecturer in economics and Weinberg adviser Hilary Lieb, on the economic and social impacts of the birth control pill. The program was sponsored by the Sexual Health and Assault Peers Educators (SHAPE), the Gender Studies Undergraduate Board and the Science in Human Culture Program.

As a Weinberg undergraduate, Kristin Searle did oral history research on the development and early marketing of Enovid, the first oral contraceptive pill. That work was carried out at G.D. Searle & Company under the leadership of her great-grandfather, John G. Searle, whose generosity made the original Searle Hall possible and in whose honor the expanded building was dedicated.

Topics: University News