Media Contacts

Kathy Wilets

Associate Director of Public Affairs, Office of Public Affairs

Oct 16, 2013 12:51 PM

On Friday, October 11, as part of Medical Alumni Weekend, the University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) and the Department of Psychiatry dedicated the new auditorium at UNI as the C. H. Hardin Branch Auditorium. Founder of the University of Utah Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Branch was one of the pioneers in modern psychiatry, advocating for humane treatment of the mentally ill, and a removal of the stigmatization of mental illness in general. Dr. Branch served as the chairman of the University of Utah Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry until 1970, was president of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, president of the American Psychiatric Association, and president of the Intermountain Psychiatric Association, among other chairs and appointments.

Dr. Branch was instrumental in the shift from viewing mental illness as something to be feared and shunned to something that needs treatment, like any other illness. Furthermore, instead of locking the mentally ill in out-of-the-way asylums, Dr. Branch felt their treatment should be a community affair. “My dad had the strong belief that if you’re going to change the entire viewpoint of psychiatry, you have to involve the community,” says Skip Branch, Dr. Branch’s son. And he did involve the community, working closely with families, community organizations, and the L.D.S. church to create community psychiatric programs to help care for the mentally ill. He is also well-known for a speech he gave at B.Y.U. in 1961, advocating legal changes for how we approch mental illness that are considered decades ahead of their time.

It is because of these accomplishments and contributions to psychiatry that friends, family, and associates of Dr. Branch came together to fund the new auditorium. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the C.H. Hardin Branch Auditorium overlooks the exquisite Wasatch Mountains and Salt Lake Valley. Formerly the UNI cafeteria, the auditorium is equipped with state-of-the-art technology including digital monitors, projectors, audio and video presentation and recording systems. With the flexibility to configure the space as needed, this room will give a whole new meaning to the term multipurpose. It will serve as a classroom to educate the next generation of psychiatrists and mental health professionals; as a meeting room for outpatient programs; as a community education center for mental health issues; as a social hall for dignitaries and special events, and a hub for the dissemination of information throughout the University, Utah, and the world. 

“This is a marvelous tribute to my father,” say Skip Branch. “There are a number of people still alive who knew and loved my father that will be at the dedication.”

Funding for the auditorium was provided by friends, family, and associates of Dr. Branch, as well as the Lawrence T. and Janet T. Dee Foundation. 

C. H. Hardin Branch Auditorium Donors

  • The Lawrence T. and Janet T. Dee Foundation
  • Alexis Recine, MD
  • Donald Black, MD
  • Dr. Alan Jeppsen
  • Dr. Bill and Molly McMahon
  • Dr. Fares and Elvira Arguello
  • Dr. and Mrs. Frank Kleist
  • Dr. Len and Linda Schmidt
  • Dr. A. Mason Redd and Karen J. Redd
  • Dr. Paul and Marilyn Whitehead
  • Eugene L. Bliss, MD
  • Frances A. and Constance Madsen
  • Glenn L. Johnston Jr., MD
  • Isabella Tcaciuc, MD
  • Joe and Alberta Rolando
  • Jonathan Brand, MD
  • Dr. Joseph and Mrs. Jenny Yau
  • Karen and Vincent Shepherd
  • Kristine Gehret
  • Lois and Stephen Baar
  • McCarthey Family
  • Dr. Patricia and Mr. David Daniel
  • Rob and Myke Branch
  • Scott, Brooks and Alison Branch
  • Skip and Matty Branch
  • Tim and Mirja Riester
  • Welby N. Jensen, MD