The Emory & Henry School of Health Sciences in Marion took a big step forward today with the announcement of a $5 million grant from the Smyth County Community Foundation.
The announcement was made during a ceremony at Emory & Henry College, during which an agreement was signed by representatives from the College and the Foundation. The agreement ensures that the funds will be used in support of the mission of the Foundation, providing health and wellness services to Smyth County residents.
The Foundation will provide the money over an 18-month period ($1 million by July 2014, $2 million by December 2014, and $2 million by December 2015) to support the development of the School of Health Sciences.
The grant will allow the College to assume ownership of 15 acres and a large building that once comprised the Smyth County Community Hospital campus. The building, the former Smyth County hospital building, will be renovated for the continued development of the E&H Doctor of Physical Therapy program, which is slated to begin next summer in another building on the E&H campus in Marion.
Renovations to the hospital building also will accommodate programs in occupational therapy, physician’s assistant studies and other programs.
“Today we celebrate a new era in health science education for this region,” said Emory & Henry President Rosalind Reichard, who led in the development of a health sciences school in Marion. “Our commitment to the health sciences and to Smyth County is drawn from our desire to improve the lives of people throughout our region, a commitment shared by the Smyth County Community Foundation.”
Gary Peacock, chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, has been a champion of the E&H School of Health Sciences from its inception. He praised Emory & Henry for its commitment to the community and for its vision in creating a school of health sciences in Marion. “Emory & Henry brings to this School of Health Sciences an immense reputation for academic excellence and a proven capacity for transforming lives. This agreement represents an important milestone in the relationship between Smyth County and the College as well as in the economic development of our region.”
Prior to today’s announcement, Emory & Henry received financial support totaling $1.9 million from other sources, including the SCCF, the Town of Marion, Smyth County, the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. Other important partners in the project have been Mountain States Health Alliance and Smyth County Community Hospital.