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University of Utah Breaks Ground on Innovative New Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine Building

School of Medicine Groundbreaking
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine took place on October 19, 2022.

The University of Utah today broke ground on the new state-of-the-art home for its Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine. The $185 million facility has been made possible, in part, by funds from a landmark gift of $110 million from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation and the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation. The gift provides support not only for the building, but also medical education programs and cardiovascular research.  

The new 185,000-square-foot building will become the hub of the University of Utah’s nationally recognized health sciences campus. Once open, the facilities will accelerate the school’s ability to provide the highest quality medical education, advanced research, and patient care, while the added support from the foundations’ dramatically increases the school’s endowment and powers critical research.

Construction of the U’s new medical education building was approved by the Utah State Legislature in 2017 with a $50 million commitment, and an additional $60 million appropriation was approved earlier this year. More than $50 million in added philanthropic pledges for the project have also been secured. Completion of the project is expected in 2025.

"The incredible impact of the University of Utah's health sciences program in education, research and care across the Intermountain West is a source of great pride for the entire state," said Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox. "This new facility will make a major difference in our ability to address the growing need for top-tier doctors in the state, especially in our rural areas."

School of Medicine Exterior
A rendering of the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine, which will be completed in 2025.

"I have long believed that no state or region can become truly great without a world-class medical center at its nucleus," said Spencer F. Eccles, namesake of the School and Chairman & CEO of both the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation and the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation. "We hope this seminal grant—the largest ever awarded by our foundations—will help ensure the University not only provides the highest quality medical education for the doctors who serve Utah and the entire Intermountain West, but also furthers the excellence of health care for all our citizens and impacts the future of medicine through its groundbreaking research."

Plans for the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine building are focused in three major areas:

  • Global Health – With significant funding from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the building’s Global Health Pavilion will enable faculty and students to expand their innovative efforts to provide health care to more people in need, both within and beyond the boundaries of the U.S. It will provide a central hub for many global health-focused groups that are currently scattered throughout the U campus, enabling groups to continue to improve the quality of healthcare in less-developed areas.
  • Core Medical Education (Core Med) — Intermountain Healthcare has awarded a grant for the building’s core medical education spaces, including adaptive classrooms that are increasingly important as medical curriculum changes over time.  The building will also include a new, state-of-the-art Advanced Simulation Center and Anatomy Lab.  
  • Collaboration Spaces — Nearly 15% of the building will be “common areas,” designed to foster collaboration among students, faculty, and the state’s medical community. It will house the school’s Center for Interprofessional Experiential Learning, weaving important interaction between working medical professionals, students, and faculty into medical education.

“This building is being designed to advance innovation in medical education,” said Sara M. Lamb, M.D., vice dean of medical education at the University of Utah.  “It will enable us to continue to be a ‘proving ground’ in educating top-flite medical students who will carry medical sciences and patient care forward. The solutions created at this school and the generosity that made it possible will not only improve health outcomes, but also extend lives and improve the quality of life for countless individuals and families.”

University of Utah Health is the only academic medical center in the Mountain West, providing patient care for nearly 10% of the geographic area of the continental United States. The construction of the medical education building is expected to drive the most critical evolution in the medical school’s history and be used across three primary areas: education, research, and clinical care.

"The University of Utah is fortunate to have benefitted for many decades from the visionary leadership of the Eccles family," said University of Utah President Taylor Randall. "This iconic new building anchoring our University Health campus, reflects the remarkable, generous legacy of the Eccles Family and foundations that spans more than 70 years at the U. Their remarkable gift is already enabling our Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine to move further forward as a world-class integrated academic medical institution."

Spencer Fox Eccles
Spencer Fox Eccles stands with a shovel at the future site of the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at University of Utah.

The Eccles Foundations’ gift of $110 million includes the new, state-of-the-art medical education building; endowed funds which will enrich student scholarships, recruitment of top-flight faculty, and innovative medical education programs; and research funding, focused on cardiovascular science and heart disease. These resources will allow the medical school to continue developing innovations in healthcare delivery (especially for rural and underserved populations), advances in teaching models and timelines, and, eventually, make future increases in the size of the medical school class while also attracting more diverse faculty and students.  

“Thanks to this extraordinary grant – and now the construction of the new medical education building it is helping fund – others in our community are also coming together to shape the future of healthcare in Utah,” said University of Utah Health CEO Michael L. Good.  “With significant investments in Global Health, Population Health, Genomics, Simulation, Discovery and more, this is a true turning point for our institution to impact Utah, the Mountain West, and the U.S.”

"This transformational gift sets the course for the future of medical education at the University,” Dr. Good added. “It has advanced significantly in recent decades as new discoveries and technologies emerge. At the same time, the state of Utah is experiencing a need for more physicians, particularly in rural areas. This gift presents a unique opportunity: we will provide the most advanced education to raise new generations of health care professionals who will, in turn, improve health for our state and region. Our newly named school will join the ranks of the nation’s preeminent named institutions. We will not just adapt to the future of medicine—we will define it.”

The Eccles family and associated charitable foundations have invested vital resources in the University of Utah’s medical school, patient care facilities, research programs, and allied health and wellness programs for more than five decades in areas spanning cardiovascular and genetics research, nursing, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, pharmacology, critical care, and more. Among the highlights are the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Critical Care Pavilion at University Hospital; the Spencer F. and Cleone P. Eccles Health Sciences Education Building; the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation Cardiovascular Research and Training Instititute; the Emma Eccles Jones Research Building; and the George and Dolores Eccles Institute of Human Genetics, among others.




University of Utah Health is the state’s only academic health care system, providing leading-edge and compassionate care for a referral area that encompasses 10 percent of the US, including Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and much of Nevada. A hub for health sciences research and education in the region, U of U Health has a $428 million research enterprise and trains the majority of Utah’s physicians, including more than 1,460 health care providers each year at its Colleges of Health, Nursing, and Pharmacy and Schools of Dentistry and Medicine. With more than 20,000 employees, the system includes 12 community clinics and five hospitals: University Hospital, Huntsman Mental Health Institute, Huntsman Cancer Hospital, University Orthopaedic Center, and the Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital. For 13 straight years, U of U Health has ranked among the top 10 US academic medical centers in the rigorous Vizient Quality and Accountability Study.


In the nearly 40 years since the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation first became active in 1982, it has furthered the philanthropic interests of its namesakes through statewide charitable grants to improve the quality of life enjoyed by the people of Utah. The Foundation's legacy of support—now totaling more than $775 million—represents a significant investment in the economic vitality and future strength of the state of Utah and the Intermountain West.

The Foundation's grants are awarded in five focus areas including Arts & Culture, Community (social services), Education, Health & Wellness, and Preservation & Conservation.

A son of pioneering Utah entrepreneur and industrialist David Eccles, George S. Eccles was a leading figure for more than half a century in the banking industry in Utah and nationally. He played a key role in founding and guiding First Security Corporation and served as its Chairman & CEO for nearly 40 years (1945-1982). George and his wife, Dolores, were active civic volunteers whose generous involvement and support—especially in education, health care, and the arts—made an important difference in Salt Lake City and throughout Utah. Today, the foundation they created furthers their remarkable generosity, with grant-making programs throughout the state continuing to enrich the lives of all Utahns under the leadership of its Board of Directors, including Spencer F. Eccles, Chairman & CEO; Lisa E. Eccles, President & COO; and Robert M. Graham, Vice President, Treasurer & General Counsel.


Since it became active in 1978, the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation has been a generous and consistent supporter of medical research in Utah and California, awarding more than $150 million to further basic research in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and arthritis. When Nora Eccles established the foundation, she became aware of the importance of basic medical research to advance our understanding of the science of the human heart. This led to her support of research that has contributed significantly to the world's understanding of cardiovascular diseases, leading to improved treatments and therapies.

The Foundation has been particularly supportive of University of Utah Health, which has benefitted from more than $82 million in grants, including more than $56 million to the Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI). Over its 52-year history, CVRTI investigators have contributed seminal findings in electrocardiography, the mechanisms and treatments of cardiac arrhythmias, and heart failure. In 1976, the University of Utah named the CVRTI in honor of Nora Eccles.

A daughter of pioneering Utah entrepreneur and industrialist David Eccles, Nora took an active interest not only in medical research but also the fine arts, and she was an accomplished ceramicist in her own right. As chair of her Foundation, she remained closely involved with the CVRTI's work until her passing in 1978. She is succeeded in that role today by a 30-year foundation veteran—her nephew, Spencer F. Eccles—who is joined on the Foundation's board by Katie A. Eccles, Lawrence M. Harrison, Kathryn C. Econome, Robert M. Graham, and Kenneth W. Spitzer.



More than 50 years ago, the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library was the first significant capital project at the University of Utah to be funded by the Eccles family. It is named for the father of Spencer Fox Eccles, who has dramatically expanded his family's philanthropic vision over the past five decades, providing generous support for nonprofits statewide, including numerous significant grants for the University of Utah and University Health. The Eccles family and associated charitable foundations have supported the School of Medicine and health sciences in areas spanning cardiovascular and genetics research, nursing, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pharmacology, critical care, and more.

The University of Utah has long been a special place for Mr. Eccles. An Ogden, Utah native, he arrived on campus in the early 1950s and quickly adapted to campus life. His success as a four-year letterman and All American on the U's ski team and his active participation in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity set an early precedent for his later renown as a Utah Man. It was also at the U where he met Cleone Peterson of Fairview, Utah, who would become his wife of more than 54 years before her passing in 2013. Sharing Cleone's unwavering spirit of community and generosity and valuing her rural Utah roots, these tenets have become the cornerstones of Mr. Eccles' philanthropy. 

Hailing from a long tradition of generosity, he once wrote, "I was fortunate to be born into a family that believes in the importance of giving back and doing our best to leave things better than we found them. I was also taught that we can make an even greater impact by joining together with others." 

For nearly two decades, Mr. Eccles led the Eccles family's banking empire at First Security Bank until its historic merger with Wells Fargo in 2000. Throughout his career, Mr. Eccles and his businesses have become recognized for focusing on going above and beyond in delivering exceptional quality and service. 

"Since 'Giving 110%' has been a legacy theme during my leadership of First Security Bank, our foundations’ combined $110 million grant takes on special meaning for all of us," Mr. Eccles said. "It's an investment in the future of our fellow citizens—particularly in the medical students today and those to follow—who will have opportunities to practice medicine in innovative ways never before imagined, committing themselves '110%' to improving and saving lives!"