Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center Begins Centennial Celebration
SIOUX FALLS, SD (Dec. 1, 2010) – This week, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center embarks on a year-long celebration of its centennial.
McKennan Hospital was founded and dedicated on December 17, 1911. Beginning this December and throughout 2011, Avera McKennan will celebrate in various ways, culminating on 11-11-11 with a centennial gala.
Theme for the centennial is “A journey of faith, a destination of excellence.” “Our commitment to gospel values, and rich heritage of mission and ministry provided through the guidance of the Presentation and Benedictine Sisters have made the past century a journey of faith. Our destination continues to be excellence, with a priority on advanced technology, medical expertise and evidence-based care,” said Dr. David Kapaska, regional president and CEO of Avera McKennan.
In 1906, Helen Gale McKennan left $25,000 in her will to found a new hospital in the city of Sioux Falls. The Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen, S.D., already operated hospitals in Aberdeen and Mitchell, and agreed to open this new hospital.
The hospital, state-of-the-art for its time, had 55 beds, many in private rooms with private baths. At a cost of $110,000 to build and equip, it had a surgical suite, and many modern amenities such as electricity, telephone service and an elevator. The Argus Leader noted that while this local hospital was not as large as many that were in existence, “it could safely be said that there was not a more up-to-date or better equipped hospital in the northwest.” McKennan’s first patient came in only a few hours after the hospital dedication ceremony on Dec. 17, 1911, for an emergency appendectomy.
Only 100 patients were seen during McKennan’s first year, yet admissions had grown to 1,500 annually by 1920. Today, annual inpatient admissions are nearly 22,000, with over 260,000 outpatient visits and nearly 1 million clinic visits.
Avera McKennan is nationally recognized for quality. Each year since 2006, it has been listed among the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Thomson Reuters. In 2010, Avera McKennan was on a list of Top 10 Trailblazing Hospitals by FierceHealthcare for quality and innovation. In 2009, the Avera Cancer Institute received the prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer.
In observance of its centennial, Avera McKennan has published a book, “A Journey of Faith, A Destination of Excellence: Avera McKennan Hospital’s First Century of Caring,” by historian Margaret Preston.
“For the past century, Avera McKennan has been providing quality medical services with compassion for the residents of our region. We are well positioned for an exciting future, in which we will continue to excel and meet the challenges of the ever-changing dynamics in health care,” Dr. Kapaska said.
Learn more about Avera McKennan and its history at www.AveraMcKennan.org.