GHS and community celebrate GHS’ first 100 years
Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center (GHS) kicked off a year-long celebration of its centennial today (Jan. 10), with hundreds of supporters and employees crowding the festooned commons of its flagship hospital Greenville Memorial.


“I am honored to be here today and to have been a part of Greenville Hospital System’s history,” said GHS CEO and President Michael Riordan. “GHS would not be where it is today without the vision and commitment of a dedicated group of volunteers and leaders. We listened to the needs of our community and responded, while also maintaining a commitment to medical excellence through clinical care, education and research.”


“This commitment will not change, and neither will our commitment to improving the health of this community.”


What began as an 84-bed City Hospital on that snowy January 100 years ago has grown into a 1,268-bed academic medical center that is the state’s largest not-for-profit healthcare organization. With more than 10,000 employees, GHS is also the county’s largest employer and supports a payroll of approximately $866 million.


Elected leaders, current and past board members, community champions, physicians, nurses, long-time employees and volunteers spoke or were recognized throughout Tuesday’s celebrations. Events included whirl-wind celebrations on all its five campuses, a 100-year pictorial postmark and the unveilings of a historic marker at the original City Hospital site and a life-sized history exhibit at Memorial.


“GHS is committed to advancing health care for generations and plans to do so for another 100 years and beyond,” said board chairman Jerry Dempsey. “It is a privilege to take care of this community.”


Former CEOs Bob Toomey, Jack Skarupa and Frank Pinckney, who Riordan described as visionaries, were credited with the “growth and medical excellence GHS has become known for in this community.”


Tuesday’s events celebrated the historic significance of the day but also kept an eye toward the future, including the new USC School of Medicine-Greenville, which opens with its inaugural class of students in July.


The celebration was streamed live via video feed and broadcast to more than 10,000 employees and 141 physician practices.


Babies born Tuesday at the Greenville Memorial and Greer Memorial hospitals celebrated with commemorative centennial onesies blazoned with “Baby of the Century!”


The celebration officially kicks off a year-long celebration, complete with a GHS Habitat for Humanity Centennial House; historical exhibits at GHS, local libraries and the Upstate History Museum; interactive living history events; a centennial marathon; extensive community outreach and a community-wide scavenger hunt launching in May. A book chronicling the 100 years will debut this spring at the Upstate History Museum.


Artifacts, memorabilia and “GHS stories” collected through the year will be included in a time capsule to be buried December 2012. A sampling of stories is already posted on The centennial website features vignettes of GHS history, support opportunities and even a link to a Centennial Store, where a percentage of proceeds go the Centennial Habitat House project.


“Innovation, creativity and leadership are what make this country and community great, and these qualities are clearly evident here at GHS,” said keynote speaker Sen. Jim DeMint. “In fact, the USC School of Medicine-Greenville and the ongoing research taking place at the Institute for Translational Oncology Research are perfect examples of what can happen when you blend innovation, creativity and leadership together.


“Over the years, I’ve seen this community grow, and I’ve seen Greenville Hospital System grow right along with it. I’ve also traveled all over this great nation, and I know Greenville to be among the best cities in the world and GHS to be among our nation’s top academic medical centers.


“We are fortunate to live in such a great place and to have high-quality health care right here in our own backyard.”


For more information about the GHS centennial, visit