The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) honored the legacy of Lawrence Schmieding on Tuesday (April 23) and the 20th anniversary of the UAMS Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education in Springdale.
The event drew members of UAMS leadership and staff to the center at 2422 N. Thompson St., including Schmieding Foundation Inc. president Gilda Underwood and vice president Lance Taylor. Community leaders and members of the UAMS Foundation Fund Board also attended.
“UAMS is extremely proud to have been chosen by Mr. Schmieding to carry on his work,” UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson said in a statement. “As the state’s only academic health sciences university, we share the vision of Mr. Schmieding and the Schmieding Foundation of improving the lives of all Arkansans. The UAMS Schmieding Center continues to lead the way in senior health and education for the rest of the country.”
The Schmieding Center was established Jan. 1, 1999, when Lawrence H. Schmieding gave UAMS more than $15 million to operate health and education programs for the seniors of Northwest Arkansas and to train home caregivers so older Arkansans could age at home.
Schmieding, who died in 2009, made the gift after searching in vain for qualified home caregivers for his aging brother, Bert. The center became the first regional Center on Aging of the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, which is directed by Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D.
Since 1999, the Schmieding Foundation has invested about $31 million in the Schmieding Center, including building costs, maintenance and educational programs. In January, the Schmieding Foundation donated the $4.85 million building to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees for the benefit of UAMS.
Patterson read a letter from Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson commemorating the legacy of Lawrence Schmieding. The letter was then presented to Underwood.
The letter read in part, “Lawrence Schmieding has left a compelling legacy of enriching the lives and health of older adults through empowerment, understanding and home caregiver education. Mr. Schmieding will be remembered for his compassionate and lifelong commitment to provide an excellent quality of life for seniors and their families.”
The Schmieding Center addresses the needs of seniors through a senior health clinic, social and physical activities such as watercolor workshops and Tai Chi and yoga classes, family caregiver workshops and support groups, health professional continuing education, home caregiver training, Alzheimer/dementia classes, certified nursing assistant training and social work student fellowship experiences.