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Saying goodbye to Swanson with memories

Image with caption: Swanson Hall

Swanson Hall

UNMC staffers offer their memories of Swanson Hall:

Sonja Cox, program coordinator, M.D./Ph.D. Scholars Program
When they started counting the ceiling tiles in my office in Wittson Hall in 2006, I knew there was a move in my future . . . and it turned out to be Swanson Hall third floor. . . . This building had a history (love history), and I began to imagine all of the parents with children that had walked into this building, some looking for a miracle. I always love the feeling of being surrounded by history, and that's the feeling I had about Swanson Hall. Whenever I got the chance to take a prospective student here for the M.D./Ph.D. Scholars Program through Swanson Hall on our way to interviews and meetings, I would always mention Swanson Hall's first purpose.

A Mouse Tale

At least one mouse owes its life to animal-loving employees like myself who disassembled Robin Taylor's typewriter on the porch of Swanson. That mouse ran for its life; probably beat us back to Robin's office. The story was made even funnier by the fact that Robin is terrified of mice and initially thought the mouse had run off. I was standing and talking to her, and right before the bloodcurdling scream, the mouse stood up on its hind legs on a pile of books and looked over Robin's shoulder at me and winked a mischievous wink. The rest is history.

Susan Smith, manager, Faculty/Employee Assistance Program

Dee Acquazzino, cystic fibrosis pediatric clinical coordinator
Before it became Swanson Hall, it was Children's Hospital. As a pediatric hospital, it retained some pediatric nuances even after Swanson opened. For example, I loved to direct our male visitors to the men's restroom across from our offices because it was still equipped with a children's bathtub. And the women's restroom adjacent to our office had a standing weight scale in it used to weigh patients when they were hospitalized.

While it was still the original Children's Hospital, I would occasionally go over to do a special test on inpatients on the wards. We diagnosed many patients with CF as a result of this test on those wards. When Children's moved and the building became Swanson Hall and our section moved there, my office ended up being located in the exact spot as the wards where we had diagnosed all those patients and were still caring for them. What a strange coincidence!

Tancy Ellis, pediatric nephrology nurse
When I was 3 years old in 1953, my tonsils were taken out at the then Children's Hospital. The anesthesiologist used a cloth filled with ether. It threatened to strangle me before putting me to sleep. The smell can be conjured up 60 years later! I was in a dozen-bed ward where my parents could visit only a half an hour a day. I remember having been told that having my tonsils out would mean that I would "never have a sore throat again," and I woke from the operation having a vicious sore throat!

Say goodbye to Swanson today

The Swanson Hall tribute ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m. today on the east steps of Swanson Hall.

UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., will provide remarks, along with Gary Perkins, president and CEO of Children's Hospital & Medical Center. Refreshments also will be provided.

Swanson Hall will be razed for construction of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, a project that includes a multidisciplinary outpatient clinic, the 98-lab Suzanne and Walter Scott Cancer Research Tower and the CL Werner Cancer Hospital, with 108 beds dedicated to oncology patients.

Completion of the cancer center is expected in 2016.

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