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Signature Benefactor Event Shines Spotlight on Healthcare Honorees

Over 400 people attend dinner honoring the entire healthcare community for its vital role

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Written by Danielle Davis on April 29, 2022
What You Need To Know

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital co-hosted the annual Benefactor Recognition Dinner to celebrate the dedication and courage of our healthcare community.

Boundless gratitude for the vital roles of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the entire healthcare community was on display at the annual Benefactor Recognition Dinner on April 27.

“As everyone in this room can attest, the COVID-19 pandemic has been all-consuming for the last two years,” said CU Anschutz Chancellor Donald Elliman. “But we’ve endured. It’s been quite a journey to get to this point, but we know the future is bright because of the extraordinary people here tonight. This is your night.”

Four hundred people attended the 2022 event in the Seawell Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Traditionally, the Benefactor Recognition Dinner highlights the progress made possible by benefactors’ philanthropic support. This year’s gathering, however, focused on our entire healthcare community and the impact made possible at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. In addition, the program featured messages of gratitude submitted by benefactors to show appreciation and encouragement for our healthcare honorees.

Honoring front-line workers

“At UCHealth, we like to say our patients have extraordinary lives – and when they need medical care, we’re honored to help them improve their lives so they can continue to live extraordinary,” said UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital President and CEO Tom Gronow. “Our nurses, doctors, staff members and everyone on this campus play an important role in making extraordinary possible.”


The fireside patient chat was moderated by Wells Messersmith, MD, FACP, FASCO, (left) chief medical officer of oncology services at UCHealth and associate director for clinical services at the CU Cancer Center, featured Manali Kamdar, MD, MBBS, (center) associate professor in the Division of Hematology and clinical director of lymphoma services at UCHealth, and her patient Mark Koenig (center right) and his spouse, Sharon Koenig (far right). Photos by Eric Stephenson.

Aptly named the Benefactor Recognition Dinner: Honoring our Healthcare Community, the event started with a moving video by UCHealth to honor front-line workers and the vital role they play in helping people across the Rocky Mountain Region. Click here to watch the opening video.

Elliman and Gronow hosted the evening, with special guests including recently named CU President Todd Saliman, Liz Concordia, president and CEO of UCHealth, as well as CU Regents Glen Gallegos, Callie Rennison, Sue Sharkey, Lesley Smith and Ilana Spiegel. Also in attendance were Jack Finlaw, president and CEO of the CU Foundation, and Mary Sissel, chair of the CU Foundation Board.

The dinner demonstrated the power of partnerships as evidenced through the unique characteristics of an academic medical campus and its leading hospital affiliates right in our own backyard.

“CU Anschutz Medical Campus and UCHealth have a long and important partnership – one that has benefited greatly over the years by philanthropic support,” said Gronow. “This support has enabled us to grow into one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, a leading healthcare system and a nationally recognized medical campus.”

Foundations of innovation

Elliman and Gronow each reflected on the strong foundations of innovation taking place on campus, from the state-of-the-art Anschutz Health Sciences Building and soon-to-be-completed Tower 3 at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, to improving the patient experience with saliva-based testing for detecting head and neck cancers as well as remote patient monitoring and predictive analytics.


The program also included a panel focusing on the positive lessons learned from COVID-19 as we transition from pandemic to endemic. In addition, there was a fireside chat with a patient who shared their experience of the meaningful care they received at UCHealth and what it meant to their family.

The event concluded with a video about the power of possibilities at CU Anschutz and what can be accomplished when we work together. Click here to watch the closing video.

“As noted in the video, we can truly dream to be anything – and we can achieve anything,” said Elliman. “On both counts, we are able to do so because of you.”

Photo at top of page: The “COVID-19 For Good” panel moderated by Richard Zane, MD, (left) chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and chief innovation officer at UCHealth, featured Michelle Barron, MD, (center) professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and senior medical director for infection prevention and control at UCHealth, and Thomas Campbell, MD, (right) professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, associate dean for clinical research in the CU School of Medicine and chief clinical research officer at UCHealth. 

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