On Friday, May 31, 2013, members of the Einstein community and members of the Resnick, Katz, and Doppelt families and their special guests, gathered in the lobby of the Van Etten Building for a unique occasion: the unveiling and dedication of the sculpture “Spiral of Life.” Created by Roni Doppelt, daughter of Einstein Overseers Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz and granddaughter of Jack and Pearl Resnick, early Einstein supporters and Benefactors in whose honor the College’s campus was named, the sculpture represents the family’s longstanding ties to the College of Medicine and its mission to advance human health.
Installed at the center of the building’s art deco lobby, the piece stands nine feet high, including the base, and is crafted from cast bronze and polished stainless steel. It was draped with a dark cloth as those assembled awaited its unveiling and dedication.
In his welcoming remarks, Ira Lipson, director of institutional advancement, noted Ms. Doppelt’ s relationship with the College of Medicine: “In 1999, Roni and her husband Stuart hosted the first-ever Florida Cancer Center Research Advisory Board luncheon at their home. Since then, she has graciously hosted other Florida events and has been a regular at our Florida dinners, Lunch and Learn Programs, and a supporter of the Cancer Center. We are truly delighted that she has created this sculpture for us.”
Ms. Doppelt was then invited to the podium to share the inspiration for her sculpture. “The idea for ‘Spiral of Life,’ came about over several visits I made to the Einstein campus, which is named for my grandparents. I feel their presence whenever I’m here,” she said.
“On one of those visits, I passed the Price Center/Block Pavilion, Einstein’s magnificent research facility and my eyes were drawn to the DNA spiral staircase that shines through the glass front of the building. I had always wanted to create a sculpture to honor my parents and grandparents and the DNA staircase sparked my imagination.”
She described the sculpture, noting, “At the core of the piece is a couple entwined in each other’s arms. They represent love – the source of life and the force that all living things need to thrive. The steel ribbons represent the double helix – the biological basis of life.
She concluded, “I am thrilled to dedicate this work of art, which I created as a loving tribute to two remarkable people – my parents, Marilyn and Stanley Katz, in honor of their 60th wedding anniversary – and in memory of my dear grandparents, Jack and Pearl Resnick. They’ve all been, and will always be, my inspiration and my role models. I hope this sculpture, created in their honor, will bring joy to all who encounter it for many years to come.”
To make the dedication official, Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein, joined Ms. Doppelt in unveiling her work of art. Before removing the cloth covering, Dr. Spiegel said, “I was delighted when Roni offered to create a sculpture for Einstein that would reflect on two unique aspects of Einstein – our logo, which incorporates a graphic of the spiral staircase at the Price Center/Block Pavilion and is modeled after a strand of DNA; and our tagline, ‘Science at the heart of medicine,’ which signifies the excellence of our science, combined with our humanism, that helps to contribute to improving human health around the globe. Roni has incorporated both into her artistic vision and naming of this exceptional sculpture.”
He added, “It’s appropriate that this sculpture is being dedicated in honor of Roni’s parents Marilyn and Stanley Katz, and in memory of Jack and Pearl Resnick. Since the early days of the College of Medicine, the Resnick and Katz families have been leaders in advancing our institution’s mission. And, it’s terrific to see the third and fourth generation of this very special Einstein family, with whom we look forward to sharing more happy occasions.”
After the ceremony, Marilyn Katz, who is also the founding chair of the College of Medicine’s Cancer Research Advisory Board, said, “We are thrilled that Roni has created this beautiful sculpture for Einstein. We are continually impressed by the new research coming out of the College of Medicine’s laboratories that helps the Bronx community and people around the world. To see our children, nephews and nieces, and now our grandchildren become involved with Einstein, which has been so important to our entire family, is very gratifying.”
The Van Etten building, which the College of Medicine leased, from Jacobi Medical Center in 2009, provides vital space for clinical care, research, and medical education. Van Etten currently houses Einstein’s largest clinical program, the Children’s Evaluation and Research Center, along with the Sheryl and Daniel R. Tishman Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory and the Ruth L. Gottesman Clinical Skills Center. Ultimately, the building also will be home to the Einstein Aging Study, anatomy laboratories and other programs.
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