WMU’s med school renamed after Stryker

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Western Michigan University’s School of Medicine is getting a new name, and three years after a large donation was made to launch the school, its once-anonymous donors have been revealed.

On Tuesday, WMU officials announced the school has been renamed as the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, in honor of the late Dr. Homer Stryker, a Kalamazoo orthopedic surgeon and the founder of Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corporation, a Fortune 500 company that makes medical devices.

The school was renamed after Stryker following the donation of more than $100 million by his granddaughter, Ronda E. Stryker, and her husband, William D. Johnston, a WMU trustee. Ronda E. Stryker and Johnston, both WMU grads, donated the money in May 2011 to launch the medical school located at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus in Kalamazoo, which is currently undergoing renovation and is expected to open in a few months.

Borgess Health and Bronson Healthcare, which will work in cooperation with the new med school, both hope it will encourage new physicians to set up practice in West Michigan.

“We’re all concerned about the growing physician shortage,” Bronson Healthcare CEO Frank Sardone said.

Michigan will be more than 4,000 doctors short by 2025. WMU’s new med school will eventually produce 80 new physicians per year.

“Certainly it won’t solve the entire issue, but we think it will help make a dent in the growing shortage,” Sardone said.

Western’s the second medical school on this side of the state. Michigan State University has a medical school in Grand Rapids.

“We know the two most important factors about where a physician practices are where their roots are, where they grew up, where they have some family. Also where they trained,” Dr. Hal Jensen, the dean of the new med school, said.

That means putting medical schools in West Michigan means there is a better chance that those graduates will stay in the region and help reduce the doctor shortage.

In a news release, Ronda Stryker said her grandfather “would have been thrilled” about the possibility of a medical school in his own community.

“While he wouldn’t care that the school was named after him, it is without doubt a fitting and lasting recognition to his contribution to medicine, medical research, innovative products and service to patient healthcare outcomes,” Ronda E. Stryker said. “We are thrilled to be strong foundational partners in the creation of this new innovative school of medicine.”

The Homer Stryker School of Medicine will seat its first class this fall.

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