UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial celebrates 100 years of care

Ingalls Memorial Time Capsule
Individuals with a special connection to Ingalls Memorial were on hand to unseal a 35-year-old time capsule. Among items in the capsule were historical photos, as well as medical instruments and a birth certificate of the first baby delivered at Ingalls.

UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial Hospital marked its 100th anniversary of serving the city of Harvey and neighboring Southland community at a ceremony that included the opening of a time capsule sealed 35 years ago.

The event — held on November 6, 2023, on the main hospital campus in Harvey — was attended by state and local officials, Ingalls employees, health system leaders, and community members. Distinguished guests included Harvey Mayor Christopher Clark, Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld, Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson and Illinois Representative Will Davis, as well as Barry Fields, Chair of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, Sam Cutrara, Chair of the Ingalls Development Foundation Board of Directors, and Kevin Purcell, Chair of the Ingalls Memorial Hospital Board.

In his remarks before a standing room-only crowd in the Employee Meeting Room, Clark reflected on the courage needed by the founders of Ingalls Memorial to open Harvey’s first hospital 100 years ago and his hope for another century of service to the community.

“I have faith UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial will be here to provide the services that are needed by so many in this area and in this community,” the mayor said. “I am so grateful for all of you and grateful that here in the city of Harvey, this type of entity was produced.”

Mary Jo Crandall, Ingalls’ Chief Operating Officer, lauded the commitment of past and current employees at Ingalls Memorial.

“It takes a village of dedicated individuals to deliver excellent care to our patients and the community — day in and day out,” said Crandall, who spoke on behalf of Ingalls’ interim President Mike Antoniades, who was unable to attend the event. “Whether you are in a support department or in direct patient care, we could not fulfill our mission without you.”

In a memo to employees ahead of the centennial celebration, Antoniades addressed the growth that Ingalls Memorial has seen over many decades and will continue to experience as a key part of the UChicago Medicine health system.

“During our 100 years of service to Harvey and surrounding communities, this organization has grown from one woman’s dream and changed dramatically,” said Antoniades, who will assume the role of Ingalls’ President on a permanent basis in January 2024. “The passion for service and dedication to creating healthy communities that was present at our founding still lives today.”

Ingalls’ centennial was marked seven years after the community health system merged with UChicago Medicine.

It takes a village of dedicated individuals to deliver excellent care to our patients and the community — day in and day out.

“Our organization has a longstanding commitment to bringing the care that the University of Chicago Medicine is known for to more communities, and we recognize Ingalls’ role in helping with this commitment,” said Mark Anderson, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Chicago. “When Ingalls and its network of sites joined UChicago Medicine in 2016, we were able to dramatically grow as a health system.”

The merger brought together the strengths of two organizations: one with the resources of an academic medical center; the other with deep experience in community healthcare and outpatient services. It also signaled the start of UChicago Medicine’s transformation from a Hyde Park-focused academic medical center into an academic health system serving communities in Chicagoland, the suburbs and beyond.

“We are proud to celebrate this legacy of providing high-quality, compassionate care to the south suburbs,” said Tom Jackiewicz, President of the University of Chicago Health System, which operates as UChicago Medicine. “Today — as part of UChicago Medicine — Ingalls Memorial remains an essential pillar in the Southland community.”

A bridge to the recent past

To cap the centennial celebration, Crandall asked special guests with a connection to Ingalls Memorial to help open the 35-year-old time capsule. Those who were on hand for the unveiling:

  • Bill Mazur and William Cunningham, both with the facilities and plant operations team who helped construct the time capsule in 1988. Mazur has been at Ingalls Memorial for 45 years and Cunningham for 50 years.
  • Melissa Miller, daughter of the first baby born at Ingalls Memorial
  • Aretas Collymore, a 40-year hospital volunteer
  • Darlene Drwiega, who was born at Ingalls and has been an Ingalls employee for 43 years
  • Aimee Saari, who was born at Ingalls and is an 18-year employee of the University of Chicago Medical Center, which is part of the UChicago Medicine health system

Among the memorabilia uncovered in the box: a letter to future employees from then-President Robert L. Harris, medical instruments, and a birth certificate and hospital bill from the first baby delivery at Ingalls Memorial.

The genesis of the time capsule began when Ingalls’ PR office decided to recognize the 65th anniversary in 1988 by holding several events, including a health fair on the Harvey campus. As part of the pre-event publicity, the team reached out to local residents seeking artifacts or memorabilia from Ingalls' early years. Among the surprises was Jeannette Kathryn Landowski presenting her birth certificate that showed she was the first baby born at Ingalls Memorial. She was named after the hospital founder Frederick Ingalls’ beloved wife, Jeannette.

The intent at the time was to open the time capsule on Ingalls Memorial's centenary.

[MUSIC PLAYING] We are at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, Illinois.

We are celebrating Ingalls 100 year anniversary.

More than 100 years ago, Frederick Ingalls, an industrialist, saw a need for a hospital in Harvey to take care of the workers. Ingalls opened its door on November 4, 1923. Within the first seven years, Ingalls Memorial doubled in size and it weathered both the Great Depression and World War II. Over the decades, Ingalls Memorial continued its community and health care mission.

It's very important for communities in Chicago Southland to have access to compassionate and high quality medical care. And Ingalls Memorial has been involved in providing that care for 100 years.

Today, as part of UChicago Medicine, Ingalls Memorial remains an essential pillar of the Southland community.

This is a rather curious moment in that we are opening a time capsule.

So I'm very excited to get to this part of the program, excited and a bit nervous about what might be in there.

I have no inside knowledge about what that might contain. And I'm as curious as you are. .

You've been hearing about this vault that was sealed on Ingalls 65th anniversary, so that was in 1988. And the intent always was to open the vault on the 100th anniversary.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Congratulations on reaching the Centennial. Thank you for everyone who's played even a small role in the success of this organization.

[APPLAUSE]

You really do make a difference for our patients. And I'm so proud to see the interactions that you have with patients, to read the letters that we receive. You really do inspire me. And I'm so honored to serve with you all.

Thank you to all the employees that are here today. You are what make this place what it is.

I work here because I care a lot.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

A long history of service

It was more than 100 years ago when industrialist Frederick Ingalls moved his foundry and manufacturing company to Harvey. He and his wife, Jeannette Hess Ingalls, saw a need for a hospital to serve a growing population of workers and their families and decided to endow a community hospital.

When Ingalls Memorial opened its doors on November 4, 1923, Douglas dedicated the hospital to his wife, who passed away during planning and construction. The hospital had 50 beds, and its first patient to be admitted was Ella Koehn. A year later, the Ingalls family established the Jeannette Hess Ingalls School of Nursing, offering courses in medical, surgical and obstetrical nursing, as well as pharmaceuticals and public health to local women.

Ingalls Memorial grew as the region’s manufacturing industry developed. Within the first seven years of operation, the hospital doubled in size.

Ingalls Memorial nearly closed during the Great Depression due to financial pressures, according to a city history compiled by the University of Illinois. While community support and staff commitment were able to keep the hospital open, the Ingalls School of Nursing closed in 1934. The hospital again faced challenges during World War II, as supply shortages loomed. A transfusion of new leaders and renewed community investment reversed Ingalls Memorial’s course, and major renovations and a resupply effort began.

In 1953, Ingalls Memorial reached another significant moment in its history: It was among the first class of hospitals to be accredited by The Joint Commission.

A widening commitment to community

In the early 1970s, Ingalls Memorial was instrumental in launching South Cook County EMS, a collaboration with seven other area hospitals that provided emergency care services to over 1 million people in the Southland and still provides regional coordination and education.

In the past 30 years, Ingalls expanded its innovative specialty services in areas such as sleep disorders, rehabilitation, behavioral health, cardiology, minimally invasive technology, cancer care, orthopedics, ophthalmology, and mother-child wellness. Ingalls Memorial also became the only Southland community hospital to have a perinatal facility for premature and critically ill infants.

We are proud to celebrate this legacy of providing high-quality, compassionate care to the south suburbs.

Ingalls staff also aligned resources to offer educational programming focused on prevention, treatment and wellness beyond hospital walls.

Ingalls Memorial Hospital added UChicago Medicine to its name following the 2016 merger with the academic health system. Since then, Ingalls’ patients have had easy access to the resources of a leading academic medical center, such as clinical trials and faculty physicians with experience in caring for the most complex cases. The merger also gave UChicago Medicine patients in the south suburbs convenient access to Ingalls’ network of high-quality care centers and top physicians.

Today, Ingalls Memorial remains an integral part of the Southland community. In addition to offering emergency, complex medical and primary care, it serves as an economic engine for the region, employing more than 2,500 people in Harvey, Calumet City, Flossmoor, Tinley Park and other Southland areas.

The organization hosts and participates in free community screenings, educational programs and health fairs, and it operates Complimentary Nutrition Stations that provide free food to patients.

In fiscal year 2022, the hospital’s community benefit contributions totaled nearly $100 million, a 15% increase from the previous fiscal year. Through the Ingalls Development Foundation, the hospital supports health education scholarships, the Wood Street Community Health Corridor and a rooftop garden, among other efforts.