UNMC names student plaza in honor of Ruth and Bill Scott

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Their work was honored on Sept. 13 when the UNMC student plaza was named on their behalf.

For all they’ve done to transform the academic campus at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha philanthropists Ruth and Bill Scott were honored on Sept. 13 when the UNMC student plaza was named on their behalf.

Over the past eight years, the Scotts have made multiple gifts to UNMC, including the lead gifts on new buildings for four UNMC colleges – medicine, nursing, public health and pharmacy.

“The Scotts are the epitome of greatness,” said UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D. “They couldn’t care less about being in the limelight. They simply want to help others.

“Their incredible philanthropy is based on two key objectives – they love Omaha and Nebraska, and they want them to thrive; and they want a medical center that can provide world-class education, research and patient care to make a difference for Nebraskans and people around the world.”

Dr. Maurer said the Scotts’ generosity has literally transformed the UNMC campus. “A decade ago, our campus was just a bunch of aging buildings with no green space. It didn’t have the feel of a college campus. Now, thanks to the Scotts, we have a real college campus with incredible new buildings and a beautiful student plaza. It’s amazing what they’ve done. They’ve given almost all of our students a new building.”

The Scotts’ philanthropy has not gone unnoticed by UNMC students.

“I feel that UNMC has always done a world renowned job of training our health professionals,” said Jeremy Peterson, a fourth-year medical student who is president of the UNMC Student Senate. “With the Scotts’ help, the esthetic quality of our campus has finally caught up with the education provided.

“It is really nice to visit other top notch programs in the country and see that UNMC is now more technologically advanced due to the additions made possible by the Scott family.”

The Scotts grew up in Ashland, Neb., and both graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Bill Scott is a former vice president of Berkshire Hathaway. Ruth Scott is a bridge instructor and founder of the Omaha Bridge Studio.

The Ruth and Bill Scott Student Plaza spans from 42nd Street to 38th Avenue and from Dewey Avenue to Jones Street.

Hundreds of UNMC faculty, students and employees were on hand for the dedication event on the UNMC ice rink in the heart of the student plaza. A highlight of the event was Bill Scott, a longtime trumpet player and singer, leading an eight-member band called “Scotty & the Grateful Meds.”

The band included one of the Scotts’ sons as well as three UNMC faculty members, a UNMC medical student and a UNMC post-doctoral student. They played six different songs sandwiched around brief remarks from Dr. Maurer and five others.

As part of the ceremony, a plaque honoring the Scotts was unveiled. There are five nearly identical plaques located around the student plaza. They include a map of the academic campus and a listing of some of the points of interest. In addition, the plaques include a thank you message from the Scott family to Ruth and Bill Scott.

On the evening of Sept. 13, the Scotts participated in the initial lighting ceremony for the Hope Tower located in front of the Harold M. and Beverly Maurer Center for Public Health.

The tower – designed by internationally-renowned artist James Carpenter – is illuminated at night. It is surrounded by four black granite benches for people to sit on and reflect. The name of the tower was selected from more than 235 submissions made by UNMC faculty, staff and students.

Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.

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