LIVINGSTON, NJ — Local dignitaries, Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) staff and benefactors of the new Cooperman Family Pavilion—a five-story, 241,000-square-foot SBMC facility that is expected to change the healthcare landscape in New Jersey when it officially opens on Sept. 18—were invited to a celebratory ribbon cutting on site on Thursday evening.
The grand opening event honored the many individuals and organizations that contributed to the project in order to demonstrate their commitment to enhancing the community’s health, including vanguard donors Leon and Toby Cooperman.
“As I stand here this evening, two words come to mind: honored and blessed,” said Leon Cooperman, who spoke on behalf of his family. “My family is honored to have our name associated with one of the great institutions serving the State of New Jersey and surrounding communities. We’re honored to be associated with the dedicated physicians, nurses and thousands of support personnel that make Saint Barnabas the special place it is.”
Cooperman, the son of a plumber and the first generation American born to his family, said he feels blessed to have lived the American Dream. He added that he feels it is his family’s moral imperative to give others the opportunity to pursue the American Dream by sharing our financial success.
“Some people are brought up with the philosophy that it’s not just about taking from the world and living in the world, it’s about making the world a better place for others, which is really the most important way to live your life,” he said. “The team at Saint Barnabas is repairing the world every day of their lives and we are both honored and blessed to be of help.”
The five floors of the Cooperman Family Pavilion—which features 114 private patient rooms, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, extensive outpatient testing areas and a light-filled lobby—were designed to complement the care that SBMC patients receive every day. The pavilion was unveiled on Thursday along with the Eric and Lore Ross Lobby.
Stephen Zieniewicz, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of SBMC, spoke about his pride in the new facility as well as the transformation of the campus. He said that Leon and Toby Cooperman are the “cornerstones of this historic growth” and demonstrate SBMC’s “commitment to the community and exemplify the qualities that define the very best patient care: compassion, empathy and selfless dedication to others.”
“SBMC’s mission is to provide compassionate care, healthcare excellence and superior service for our patients and their families,” said Zieniewicz. “The Cooperman Family Pavilion has transformed our campus. Patients and their families will benefit from unparalleled privacy, dignity and convenience.”
On behalf of SBMC, Zieniewicz said the team is humbled by the family’s generosity, which will “elevate the well-begin of the families who entrust their health the SBMC,” he said.
“The location of the hospital makes it available to all the surrounding towns where people can receive the best health care in an outstanding facility, so that they don’t have to go anywhere else for medical treatment,” he said. “We are very appreciative for the generosity of the Coopermans.”
Livingston Mayor Shawn Klein said that prior to the new addition, SBMC was the “cream of the crop” in New Jersey and that the Cooperman Family Pavilion puts it over the top.
“People come to Livingston for lots of reasons: they come to deliver their babies here, they come to eat, they come for all the expertise that we have in all the different departments that we have and they come to Saint Barnabas and this just makes things better and better,” he said.
Klein was joined at the ribbon cutting by all five members of the Livingston Township Council to witness the unveiling of the new facility.
“I remember when this was before the planning board and I just want to note what a good neighbor Saint Barnabas is,” said Councilman Al Anthony. “They work with us, they work with people on Ross Road to make sure nothing is intrusive to the residences over there and they’ve always been a great neighbor—and that’s evidenced by their work on this, our new [Madonna] field and dealing with all of the people at SBMC."
Barry Ostrowsky, president and chief executive officer of RWJBarnabas Health, reiterated RWJBarnabas Health’s thanks to not only the Cooperman and Ross families, but to all of the many sponsors of this project as well as all those who attended Thursday’s event.
“Today we are all party to the transformation of the delivery of good health for both this community, the region and, frankly, the nation,” said Ostrowsky. “This medical center over the last number of years, distinguished itself in clinical care and patient experience beyond that which most people actually know. Today, we celebrate the ability to even enhance those clinical services and patient experience—and we’re able to do that primarily because of the inside generosity that has long-distinguished the Cooperman Family.”
Ostrowsky also recognized outgoing chairman of the SBMC board of trustees Richard Kogan, who Ostrowsky said is someone who has been “incredibly generous with resources” and has “made certain that this institution has attained the great status and reputation that it now enjoys.” Kogan was designated on Thursday as the first, and potentially only, Chairman Emeritus.
An open house for the facility was also held on Sunday and was open to the public for tours throughout the day. Dr. Steve Crane, president of the medial staff, made remarks along with the Coopermans, who were presented with “Honorary Physician” white coats. Zeiniewicz also presented the family with a mounted “gold key” to the building.
The following benefactors were all recognized for their contributions to the Cooperman Family Pavilion: