grand opening of the Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education
Left: Robert L. Williams Jr., M.D. '86, chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committe of the board of trustees with Cal Turner Jr. and right: Frank S. Royal Sr., M.D. '68, chairman of the board of trustees.
Meharry Medical College officially opened its newest building on campus, The Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education, on Friday, October 24, 2014 with a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony.
The ceremony began at noon with opening remarks from President and Chief Executive Officer, A. Cherrie Epps, Ph.D. and Frank S. Royal Sr. ’68, chairman of Meharry’s board of trustees. Third-year medical student, Eddie Hackler III, introduced Cal Turner Jr., former Dollar General chairman and CEO, Nashville philanthropist and civic leader, who said the mission of the Cal Turner Family Foundation is shared with Meharry. Turner stated that his family’s business was about serving others, especially the underserved. This correlates with the mission of Meharry:
Meharry Medical College is an academic health sciences center that exists to improve the health and health care of minority and underserved communities by offering excellent education and training programs in the health sciences.
“It’s not about me, it’s about others,” said Turner. “But, when you specifically define the others as the underserved, that is what Meharry does beautifully.” Turner said it was an honor to be a part of all that was happening at the dedication and that he particularly liked the word “family” in the building that displays his name because he certainly feels like part of Meharry’s family
Turner is thrilled that the Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education will also be used for community events. “This feels like community and in this wonderful place, community will be enhanced on the campus,” he said. “Thank you for the Cal turner family opportunity to be your partner.”
Thelma Harper, Tennessee Senator for the 19th district, was one of the dignitaries at the event. “I have an awesome feeling today,” said Harper. “A lot of time and energy went into this this dream. Meharrians will use this building accordingly.”
The Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education is the newest major building on campus since 1978 and the first building on Meharry’s campus to bear the name of a Nashville philanthropic family. The gift from the Cal Turner Family Foundation, is the single largest gift the Cal Turner Family Foundation has ever made.
Located in the center of campus, The Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education boasts a 600-seat grand ballroom, a lecture-style auditorium, a 50-seat executive board room, classrooms and meeting spaces, a 200-seat food court café with a state-of-the-art kitchen, a campus bookstore, space for conferences, events and educational seminars and a visitor’s center. The eco-friendly building is also LEED certified with a 17,000 square-foot vegetated roof. The Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education will serve as a community resource available for use by civic organizations, social groups and medical, dental and public health interests.
Meharry Medical College has invested nearly $90 million in campus construction, renovations and infrastructure improvements which began in 2007. Funding has come from multiple sources including significant philanthropic and government gifts and grants, financing through the U.S. Department of Education Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) capital financing program and other debt financing.