Rehab Insights is a weekly blog written by Burke Rehabilitation professionals to offer practical information for patients, families and the community. It's goal is to educate the reader on relevant topics in rehabilitation, general health and wellness.

A Centennial in Review: Burke’s 100th Anniversary

December 8, 2015

As 2015 comes to a close, we here at Burke are taking a few moments to reflect on this past year. 2015 marked the 100 year anniversary of Burke’s founding and we honored the occasion with many events and celebrations throughout the past 12 months. 

First, a little history:  

On April 7, 1915, The Winifred Masterson Burke Relief Foundation first opened its doors in White Plains, thanks to the generosity and foresight of our benefactor, New York philanthropist John Masterson Burke. Upon his death in 1909, he bequeathed $4.5 million to begin the Burke story. In today’s money, that gift would be worth approximately $100 million—a fortune in any era.

Mr. Burke saw that the medical community was missing a much-needed interim place where patients could go and convalesce after being discharged from the hospital. He recognized that these patients needed to have additional medical treatment, rehabilitation and training so they could be active and productive again.

That idea that Mr. Burke first put forth is still very much the mission of Burke today. We strive to help patients reach their fullest possible from illness and injury. (You can read even more about the history of Burke here.)

Starting the celebration

We knew we had to commemorate the century that Burke has been fulfilling this mission in a big way. We kicked things off in January with a special Centennial logo and microsite, which you can check out here, that have been in use all year.

That same month, we held a ribbon cutting ceremony for our Centennial Lobby Display and Timeline. The display, which was set up in the lobby of Wood Pavilion, featured artifacts and relics, such as a hand-printed original blueprint by renowned architectural firm McKim, Mead & White and a turn-of-the-century pocket watch owned by Mr. Burke himself. The exhibit also highlighted new innovations in rehabilitation technology, including a prosthetic arm produced by a 3D printer.

While the display is now closed,  you can still take a look at some of the artifacts, which are permanently housed in Harris Parlor, on the first floor of the main hospital building.

The lecture series
Speaking of the display, the lobby was the setting for a monthly lecture series, the Legacy Lobby Lecture Series, which ran from February through November. Notable speakers discussed topics related to rehabilitation and its place in history—from Marie Spencer, Ph.D., Burke’s Chief Nursing Officer, who discussed the evolving role of nursing to Heidi Spitz, Psy.D., the Director of Outpatient Neuropsychology at Burke, who talked about the importance of neuropsychology in rehabilitation.

The distinguished speakers also included architect Samuel White, the great grandson of Stanford White, one of the renowned architects from the firm McKim, Mead & White, who designed the Burke campus and Harry Waizer, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee who was seriously injured in the September 11 attacks.

You can read more about Harry’s journey in this article about the lecture, featured in Westchester WAG magazine.    

An employee recognition

Founder’s Day, on April 7, will always be a special day in Burke history, and this year, we celebrated with a special reception for employees. Employees enjoyed cake and were each given a gift, a Burke blanket.

Traditional Burke events, with a Centennial twist

Burke already runs numerous events throughout the year open to the community, including the Heels & Wheels 5K in May, the Burke Award reception in June and the Wheelchair Games in September. These events were held in 2015, with special Centennial touches such as a the 100 year anniversary video, which was shown at the Burke Award reception—and which you can view at the top of the page.

Focusing on the future of research
To round out the year, we hosted a walking tour of the campus in August and then, in October, the Burke Centennial Neurorehabilitation Symposium: A Meeting of the Minds, Leading Rehabilitation Research into the Future was held on campus. This weekend-long event focused on the mechanisms that underlie injuries and illnesses of the central nervous system and their treatment. Scientists on the forefront of rehabilitation research came from around the country for the event, and the keynote speaker was George Yancopoulos, MD, Ph.D., President, Regeneron Laboratories & Chief Scientific Officer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


We’ve had a great time celebrating our Centennial celebration this year—and we hope that you were able to make it to one of our many events. But if you couldn’t swing it, don’t worry: We’ve got lots on the calendar for 2016.

To keep up to date with everything happening at Burke, sign up for our newsletter, follow us on social media (Here’s Facebook and Twitter) and be sure to check the Community Calendar on our website.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy 2016!


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Please Note

Burke's Rehab Insights blog is intended to provide general information about rehabilitation and other health care topics. It should not take the place of medical care. Burke staff cannot comment on individual medical cases or give medical advice. Thank you.

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