Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Downtown Iowa City Sheraton Hotel


Thanks to all of you for joining us in this great annual tradition. It is wonderful to be with you again this year! The Children’s Miracle Network luncheon is always a very special marker of new beginnings.

We are beginning a new academic year at the UI, a new year of Hawkeye football, a new year of philanthropy through the Children’s Miracle Network, and a new year of providing the best care we possibly can to all our patients at the UI Children’s Hospital. I’m delighted and proud to be part of this team effort!

I’m also delighted and proud to lead a university that boasts such an excellent institution as the UI Children’s Hospital. I thank Jean Robillard and Scott Turner, who will speak shortly, for their stellar leadership in the university’s academic medical center, including the UI Children’s Hospital. And I also thank the superb staff of the Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network, as well as those who have been such magnificent supporters of both. That includes the incredible students of the UI’s Dance Marathon, other Dance Marathons throughout Iowa, and, of course, Kirk and Mary Ferentz.

This is one of the most exciting times in the hospital’s history as the new dedicated Children’s Hospital building rises from the ground. Dr. Robillard and Mr. Turner will be sharing with you more details about the new hospital, so I won’t rain on their parade. But let me just say that I think you’ll see from their remarks and presentation how the new Children’s Hospital will redefine health care for children in Iowa.

Orhan Pamuk is a Turkish novelist who won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature and is a past visiting writer with the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. In his novel Snow, Pamuk describes the falling snowflakes as “the endless repetition of an ordinary miracle.”

In thinking about the mission of the Children’s Miracle Network, that’s what I hope our UI Children’s Hospital will become. Our highest dedication is to the best, most effective, most innovative, most comfortable, and most comforting treatments and cures for our precious patients. We often strive—and often succeed—in achieving the miraculous at the Children’s Hospital through the amazing talents and dedication of our physicians and staff. But what today looks like a miracle—we want that to become routine, even ordinary for those in our care and their families.  And we want to keep repeating those “ordinary miracles” over and over again for all who come to us. I’m confident that the new University of Iowa Children’s Hospital will do much to help us make the miraculous ordinary.

Each of our patients is a miracle, too. Whenever I meet the remarkable children and their families who are at the UI Children’s Hospital, I come away with a profound appreciation for the human spirit of these young people. Children teach us how to live with a sense of wonder and possibility each and every day—they not only strive for the endless repetition of ordinary miracles, they live them. I see that miracle of life and spirit again today in little Ellie Capaldo, one of our patients, and her entire family, whom you will meet shortly. They can and will speak best as to what miracles we hope for and achieve at the UI Children’s Hospital.

I again thank the Capaldo family and everyone involved with the Children’s Miracle Network and the UI Children’s Hospital, as well as everyone who made today’s luncheon possible. I thank you for everything you do to inspire us and to make life better for so many.