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Northwall Plaza dedication a time for celebration

Image with caption: The William H. Northwall, MD, Plaza

The William H. Northwall, MD, Plaza

Amid laughter and a spray of confetti, medical center leaders, community members, family and friends joined William Northwall, MD, on the UNMC Omaha campus Wednesday evening for the dedication of the new William H. Northwall, MD, Plaza.

The dedication also was streamed virtually to the wider community.

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From left, William Northwall, MD, and designer Jenny Sabin, in front of Sabin's "Convergence," which is featured on the William H. Northwall, MD, Plaza.

Speaking to the crowd, Dr. Northwall said it was a joyous time to be gathered with family, friends and loved ones. He thanked his wife, Ethel Merrigan, for adding "much to the aesthetic beauty of this plaza," which will serve as the entryway to the new Wigton Heritage Center, which will be dedicated later this month.

At the podium, Dr. Northwall spoke movingly in appreciation for his medical education received at UNMC that allowed him to go forward with, and to be able to apply his skills and medical knowledge to people in his region of Nebraska.

"UNMC holds a special place in my heart, and it gives me great pleasure to create this plaza for the people here on campus," Dr. Northwall said. "This plaza is my 'thank you' for what this institution has meant to me. May the students, faculty and guests enjoy this space to rest a moment, to reflect, to be grateful and to be inspired. Let this place be a symbol of my appreciation for my medical training here at UNMC."

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, called the plaza "a stunning addition to our beautiful campus (which) perfectly complements the new Wigton Heritage Center."

"I want to thank Dr. Northwall and his family not only for the contribution, but for the vision," Dr. Gold said. "The Northwall Plaza will provide a calming respite and a place of introspection and reflection for visitors and our students, faculty, staff and alumni. And, as we open the Wigton Heritage Center -- the new welcome center for UNMC -- the Northwall Plaza will be another welcoming destination on campus."

New York architectural designer Jenny Sabin, an associate professor at Cornell University, spoke at the event, which also included the unveiling of her sculpture "Convergence," which will be displayed on the plaza. Dr. Northwall called the piece "magnificent."

Sabin discussed her vision for the artwork, a sculpture of many colors on a frame-work of 3D-printed stainless steel, designed to inspire reflection and stimulate thought.

Sabin said: "Convergence is a process or state of coming together, where flows and currents meet and evolve together in a shared environment. Convergence celebrates the thriving, vibrant and rich heritage of excellence of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, through materialized concepts that embed change, transformation and contemplation."

UNMC's Bob Wigton, MD, also was in attendance at Wednesday evening's event, where attendees were masked and socially distant.

Meg Johnson of the University of Nebraska Foundation, called the plaza "a place of inspiration, reflection and fellowship for generations to come."

"On behalf of all who will enjoy this very special place, thank you," she told Dr. Northwall.

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