Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Remarks at the Dedication of the Medical College, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.

September 29, 1936

Chancellor Graham, my first duty is to report to you that the cornerstone is well and truly laid.

I have a great satisfaction. I have laid many cornerstones and, so far as I know, none of the buildings has tumbled down yet.

I am renewing an old association in coming back to Syracuse and Syracuse University. And, incidentally, I am very proud of being an honorary alumnus of the University.

I had many associations with the University long before I became Governor. As a grower of trees, I was very familiar with and received the cooperation of the State College of Forestry.

I have been to the Medical Center before, at the time of the opening—I think—of the Psychopathic Hospital. I am tremendously interested in the splendid work that is being carried on at this great Medical Center, not only here but outside of the limits of the University and the institutions which form it. Also, I am somewhat familiar with the other problems of the City of Syracuse, such as how to make the State Fair pay, and how to get rid of the tracks in the middle of the city. At last that dream has come true and when I came in a few minutes ago to the new station, I said to myself, "I shall never be bothered by Mayor Marvin again."

All of these projects—those which have been carried out solely by private enterprise and those which have been carried out by city enterprise, those 'that have been carried out by State or Federal enterprise and those, incidentally, that have been carried out through a combination of all of these forces—they have done much, especially in these last few years, to solve some of our nationwide problems.

I am very glad that the Secretary of the Interior has spoken to you about the objective of the work that we have helped to do, about the number of men and women who have been given work through the erection of these buildings, about the tremendous stimulus to education which has been made possible through keeping up, patching and erecting much-needed buildings-school buildings and medical buildings—throughout all of the more than 3,000 counties of the United States.

We think of the hundreds of men who have worked and who are working on these buildings here. Think also of the hundreds of men who have worked and are working in other places, creating the materials, getting them out of the mines and quarries and the factories in order to make buildings of this type possible.

And then there is another phase I believe we should remember. You and I know that in these days of stress, many of the municipalities and many of the institutions of learning throughout the country have found it difficult to make both ends meet. In that crisis, in order to keep up the work of municipalities and of private institutions, the Federal Government has been able to give the kind of assistance which has prevented the imposition of taxes which, in many cases, otherwise would have become unnecessarily high. The State has also helped during all of these years. Without Federal and State help we can well assume that the home owner and the small business man would have been far more thoroughly swamped with local taxes than he actually has been.

I am particularly happy to take part in the dedication of this medical building. As I remember it, this Medical College is a direct descendant of old Genesee College, or, as we used to call it in the olden days, Genesee. And I remember, too, that it was Genesee College which gave the first doctor's degree in America to a woman, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell. May that fine tradition be preserved in the days to come!

The country needs a large number of well-trained doctors and nurses, and, in the field of education, we need a large number of well-trained teachers. We have not reached the limit.

We all know the reasons that are usually given for the need of turning out trained persons—persons trained in social sciences. But there is another reason that is worth suggesting. During a period like this in which machinery reduces the use of human labor in the production of things, society needs to extend the use of human labor both mentally and physically. The kind of labor that doctors and teachers furnish is a splendid example. The country needs to extend that kind of labor in providing better care and better education for all of our people in every community, because we have been so late in taking up the slack that other forms of modern invention have created for us. There is a big field there. Medical care in the United States is not adequate. There are thousands of communities throughout the length and breadth of the land which need more doctors, more nurses, better doctors and better nurses, in the same way that there are thousands of communities throughout the land that need better trained and better equipped teachers.

That is why I say that these medical centers, of which Syracuse Medical College is furnishing such a fine example, need the interest and the support of every citizen.

I am very certain that the University and the citizens of the City of Syracuse and the citizens of the State of New York are proud of the work that is being carried on here.

I congratulate you not only on what you have done in the past, but, with the added assurance of the facilities which this building will provide, I congratulate you on the usefulness to humanity that you will afford to future generations of America.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks at the Dedication of the Medical College, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



New York

Simple Search of Our Archives