Children’s Hospital honors Carells with balcony dedicationMar. 7, 2019, 11:32 AM
by Christina Echegaray
In the building and creation of Nashville’s first and only freestanding children’s hospital, Monroe Carell Jr. and his wife, Ann Scott Carell, were involved every step of the way.
They walked through everything from philanthropy to the hospital’s design as a warm and welcoming place, and were hands-on with every intricate detail in between.
On moving day, Monroe Carell Jr. wheeled the first patient from the pediatric unit at Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital to the eighth floor of the new children’s hospital. On that day 15 years ago, Feb. 8, 2004, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt was born.
Fittingly, now when visitors, employees, patients, families and the community climb the recently reopened grand staircase at Children’s Hospital, all 29 steps will lead them up to the heart of the hospital. Atop the stairs is a celebration of the Carells’ vision, denoted by a newly named and dedicated Carell Family Balcony, accentuated by two vibrant oil paintings — the first of the late Monroe Carell Jr. surrounded by a group of children, a picture created in 2003 by Ann Street; and the second, newly added painting, his beloved Ann Scott Carell with her dog, Juliette, on her lap, painted in 2018 by Michael Shane Neal.
The Carell family, accompanied by Vanderbilt and Children’s Hospital leadership, friends and the community, dedicated the Carell Family Balcony Feb. 27.
“The Carell family’s generosity is instrumental in allowing Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to expand its reach, impacting countless lives in Nashville and far beyond. Their unwavering commitment underpins this era of growth. We are honored to commemorate their vision to nurture the well-being and health of the children and families we serve,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
A plaque informs all who stop on the balcony of the Carell family legacy — a family affair focused on children and education and the expectation that those fortunate enough to have means have an obligation to help others and give back to the community.
“Mr. Carell’s vision was truly the driving force behind this remarkable children’s hospital,” said John W. Brock III, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief, Director of the Division of Urology and Monroe Carell Jr. Professor. “The Carell family has been intimately involved with this hospital from the very beginning, starting with Ann and Monroe, and continuing through their three daughters, Edie Carell Johnson, Julie Carell Stadler, Kathryn Carell Brown, and their families. They are tremendously passionate about what their father and mother started. They are not only involved with funding, but they are involved with their hearts.
“I know Ann and Monroe are smiling down on us and this community as we move another step closer to opening the first two new floors of the expansion to provide care for even more children. The Carell Family Balcony is an incredible tribute to an extraordinary legacy of passion and commitment to the health of children,” Brock said.
The recent reopening of the grand staircase and lobby at Children’s Hospital represents another milestone in the hospital’s four-floor expansion, supported by the Growing to New Heights Campaign. The staircase closed for a year to allow for structural modifications for the expansion and to add two more elevators.
Just as Monroe and Ann made a transformational gift to launch the hospital building campaign in the late 1990s, their daughters and their families made a $10 million cornerstone gift that launched the most recent expansion effort.
Brown served as campaign chair, and along with her co-chairs, successfully raised $40 million under the three-year anticipated timeframe.
“Our parents believed deeply that care should extend to the whole family. They were passionate about children, and they were passionate about excellence. My sisters, our families and I are incredibly grateful for the men and women who bring this place to life, translating our parents’ passion into exceptional care for so many children and their families,” said Julie Carell Stadler, CEO of Skyway Studios and Dance Network. “The balcony and portraits alongside each other are a very fitting way to celebrate them and their commitment to a welcoming, healing place for children. On behalf of the Carell family, we know our parents would be thrilled to see the hospital’s continued growth and the beautiful expansion we will celebrate this year, and we are honored to work alongside everyone at the hospital to carry on our parents’ legacy.”
The first two new floors, one dedicated to cardiac care for children and the second for intensive care for neonates and young children, are only months away from opening. When the hospital’s architecture was initially planned in the late ’90s, it was built to allow for growth. Once all four expansion floors are complete, Children’s Hospital’s total footprint will encompass more than 1 million square feet. That all began with a vision imagined by Monroe, his family and the Nashville community.
Standing before a crowd to celebrate the 2004 opening, Monroe said, “For those of you who have been building this facility, I know you have probably built larger facilities and taller facilities, but you will have never worked on one that is more important.”