Press Release for Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Drewa Professorship to be announced

JACKSONVILLE -- Marcus Drewa, a prominent figure on the Jacksonville health-care scene for more than 50 years, is being honored by his friends with the establishment of the Marcus E. Drewa Health Administration Distinguished Professorship at the University of North Florida.

There will be a gift announcement ceremony and reception Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the Board of Trustees Room at the University Center.

More than 350 donors contributed to the $356,000 gift to fund the professorship at UNF’s College of Health. The gift qualifies for $178,000 in state-matching funds, which increases its value to $534,000. Several of the contributions to fund the professorship were for $10,000 or more.

“Marcus is a true friend and colleague who committed his life to health care,” Chally said. ”The gift is a major boost to the health-administration program and allows us to attract a prestigious professor in his honor.”

Bill Gay, CEO of W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor, Doug Milne, president and CEO of the Milne Companies, and Mary Virginia Terry will be at the event. Gay, Milne and Terry played major roles in establishing the professorship. Dr. David Kline, interim UNF president, and Dr. Pam Chally, dean of the College of Health, are among the UNF officials who wlll be in attendance.

Drewa, 71, was the president and CEO of Methodist Medical Center and Foundation for 33 years. In 1966 Drewa helped transform a struggling, financially-strapped hospital, located on Eighth Street and known in those days as Brewster Methodist Hospital, into what ultimately became Methodist Medical Center, one of the city’s major hospitals.

That transformation was often referred to as the “Miracle on Eighth Street.” Methodist Medical Center and University Medical Center merged in 1999 to form Shands Jacksonville. Drewa was a consultant at Shands Jacksonville for four years.

“I’m very grateful something like that happened,” Drewa said, referring to the professorship. “I am very humbled about it and very appreciative of the honor bestowed upon me.” Drewa credits any successes in his career to “God, my family, the board of directors, the medical staff and and the employees, and the community. “

Under the terms of the gift agreement, the Marcus E. Drewa Health Administration Distinguished Professorship will allow a nationally-recognized health administrator to support the academic community and health-care industry in Northeast Florida. The Drewa Professorship also enables the College of Health to expand its Masters of Health Administration Program.