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Sept. 10, 2010

College of Human Medicine transforms medical education with new Secchia Center

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Leaders from Michigan State University, the College of Human Medicine and its partners across Grand Rapids are gathering today for a ribbon-cutting and dedication of the college’s $90 million, privately funded medical education facility named after MSU alumni Peter and Joan Secchia.

“The opening of this state-of-the-art facility represents the hard work of all our partners,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. “The impact of this unique collaboration – from health care delivery to new research endeavors to economic stimulus – will be felt both in Grand Rapids and across the state.

“MSU and the College of Human Medicine believe in the value of teaching medicine where it is needed and practiced – in the community.”

The college’s partners include Spectrum Health, Van Andel Institute, Saint Mary’s Health Care, Grand Valley State University, Grand Action and The Right Place.

“This is the result of the vision of the leaders of the community,” said Marsha D. Rappley, dean of the College of Human Medicine. “The Secchia Center is the beginning of the research and education programs we will build together in Grand Rapids.”

Beginning last month, 100 first-year medical students and another 150 students in the second through fourth years of medical school are now studying at the seven-story, 180,000-square-foot facility that includes clinical examination rooms, simulation suites, classrooms, offices and student areas. It is located in downtown Grand Rapids at Michigan Street and Division Avenue.

The college’s new headquarters, completed on time and on budget, is entirely financed without public funding. Sources include $55 million in committed funding from Spectrum Health, which includes interest and principal payments over 25 years. Private donations cover remaining costs.

The opening of the Secchia Center is only part of the college’s growing footprint in communities across the state: New regional campuses have been opened in Traverse City and Midland, administrators are working in Flint to develop a research and education model built specifically around that region’s needs, and early admission programs have been signed with several universities across the state.

Founded in 1964 as one of the nation’s first community-based medical schools, the College of Human Medicine has since graduated more than 3,700 medical doctors. The college’s research profile has grown considerably over the past several years, including the recent addition of a $6.2 million Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson's disease research and a $6.8 million Center for Women's Health and Reproduction Research.

The project delivery team for the Secchia Center included The Christman Co. of Grand Rapids, construction manager; URS Corp./Health of Grand Rapids, engineering and architect of record; and Ellenzweig Associates of Cambridge, Mass., design architect.


Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.