Wednesday, September 29, 1999

Children's center will be named for Sabin

Honor could solve another name problem

The Cincinnati Enquirer

heloisa sabin
Heloisa Sabin
albert sabin
Albert Sabin
        Thanks to Children's Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Albert B. Sabin is sure to have his name on at least one, big community facility for years to come.

        The hospital board announced Tuesday it will name its new state-of-the-art education and conference center the Albert B. Sabin Education and Conference Center.

        In naming the center for the creator of the oral polio vaccine, the hospital may have paved the way for resolving the delicate issue of how to rename the downtown convention center, also named for Dr. Sabin.

        Delta Air Lines has agreed to contribute $30 million for naming rights to the proposed $405 million expansion of the convention center. The airline has said it wants to maintain the dignity of the Sabin name.

        While the hospital's move might appear to affect plans to change the convention center's name, that was not the intent, said David Anderson, district director of civic and promotional affairs for Delta.

        “This was an opportunity to heighten the awareness of Dr. Sabin and his contribution in a way that more appropriately aligns with his life's work,” Mr. Anderson said.

        Cincinnati City Council named the convention center for Dr. Sabin in November 1985. Changing the name will require another vote of council, and officials from the city and airline still are discussing what the new name will be.

        Heloisa Sabin, Dr. Sabin's widow, said she is “enthusiastic about any tribute that keeps the memory of Albert Sabin alive” but added she wants to see details of the proposal in writing.

        “I'm not naive,” Mrs. Sabin said of the Delta deal. “When you invest, you want something in return.”

        John Williams, president of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, called the naming of the education and research center a “far more fitting” tribute to Dr. Sabin than a convention center.

        “I think the community should be indebted to Children's Hospital for its initiative in both helping to solve a community issue and honor one of its luminaries,” said Mr. Williams.

        Mrs. Sabin agreed: “Anything connected with the University of Cincinnati would be something for me that I think would be really Albert. The convention center is more business.”

        James M. Anderson, president and chief executive of Children's Hospital, agreed that naming the education and conference center after Dr. Sabin has nothing to do with the convention center.

        Hospital officials have discussed naming something for Dr. Sabin for some time, he said. The education center — which he called the most significant education building constructed there since 1934 — presented the right opportunity, he said.

        “In naming our center for Dr. Sabin, we hope to inspire all of those we teach to follow his example,” he said in a statement.

        Dr. Sabin created the oral polio vaccine at Children's Hospital Research Foundation in Cincinnati. That vaccine is credited with saving millions of lives around the world and virtually wiping out the disease in the Western Hemisphere.

        Construction on the center — which is part of a $155.2 million construction program under way at Children's — began in October 1998 and is expected to be finished in August 2000.

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