The University of South Alabama and members of Mobile’s Greek community broke ground Saturday, April 5, for the construction of Hippocrates Park. A statue of the ancient Greek physician will be the focal point of the park between the USA Medical Sciences and Health Sciences buildings.
“The donation of the Hippocrates Park and statue serves as a symbol of AHEPA’s continued dedication to USA and higher education,” said Dr. Joseph F. Busta Jr., USA vice president for development and alumni relations. “The park itself has been specially designed to resemble the Asklepion on the island of Kos that provided shade for Hippocrates and his students. We hope that our students will also find shade here while studying to become our community’s next doctors, nurses, researchers and allied health professionals
The gift is being donated by the Mobile 310 chapter of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA). The statue will be approximately 8 feet tall and weigh 5,000 pounds.
The groundbreaking took place at 10:30 a.m. with a ceremonial Greek blessing outside the Medical Sciences building, which houses USA’s College of Medicine. AHEPA is raising money for the park project. Donors will be recognized with an inscription at the park.
Prior to the event, USA and AHEPA leaders commented on the groundbreaking and the organization’s enduring relationship with the University.
“One of the missions of AHEPA is education and through this donation of the Hippocrates Park and statue, we hope to connect past, present and future physicians to the origins of this honorable profession,” said Dr. Hercules Panayiotou, chairman of the AHEPA 310 Hippocratic Foundation. “We are proud to partner with the University of South Alabama in this endeavor.”
“This wonderful statue and these attractive surroundings will serve as a living link to Hippocrates, considered the father of western medicine, and the traditional principles expressed in the Hippocratic Oath,” said Dr. Samuel J. Strada, dean of the College of Medicine. “The tradition at the USA College of Medicine and at most medical schools is for students to recite this ancient oath during graduation ceremonies, thereby promising to uphold its professional and ethical tenets during their interactions with patients and their families.”
“This is a dream come true,” said Nick Stratas, chairman of the AHEPA National Housing Corporation and president of the local AHEPA 310 Housing Corporations, AHEPA’s division that provides affordable housing for the low-income elderly and disabled persons. “The AHEPA chapter has been involved with the Hippocrates statue park project for several years and I personally am happy to see groundbreaking arrive. This project, along with the classical studies programs, Tholos and the AHEPA 310 Scholarship, all at USA, is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the members of AHEPA and the Greek community. They should all be proud of it. Hippocrates is part of our heritage.”
The Nickolas M. Stratas Chapter 310 of AHEPA and the University have had a longstanding partnership. One of the most substantial contributions has come through the group’s support of the Hellenic Studies Endowment, which serves to enhance the study of Greek language and culture at USA. The endowment helps provide for a faculty position in philosophy and classical Greek, as well as funds undergraduate study in Greece. It also allows for enhanced academic resources, such as guest lectureships and the purchase of library materials.
Hippocrates joins Tholos, the structure located just southeast of the Whiddon Administration Building, as campus public art honoring the contributions of Greek civilization. For more information about how to donate to the park, contact Patti Panayiotou at email@example.com