Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian Health officially opened the Interprofessional Health Sciences campus on Sept. 18. Despite the school opening in July, the blessing of the campus was held off until earlier this month.
According to Bonita Stanton, founding Dean of the Hackensack Meridian School, the blessing is unrelated to the day-to-day activities that have been taking place on the campus since July. “The blessing of the building is ceremonial and speaks to the campus’ roots in Catholicism,” Stanton said.
Dr. Mary Meehan, interim president, added that the blessing was scheduled to occur after the July opening so that Cardinal Tobin would be able to attend and officiate. Another reason for the later ceremony, Meehan said, is out of courtesy for the students, “All students from the South Orange campus had time to acclimate to the new site.”
Both Meehan and Stanton said that the ceremony ideally helped cement the relevance of the Catholic faith on the new campus. Meehan said she hopes “all students will recognize the role of the Catholic Church in the healing ministry of Christ and feel at home on this exciting new site.”
Stanton’s sentiments echo that statement.
“The ceremony reflects the Catholic Heritage of Seton Hall University in which all three schools at the Interprofessional Health Campus reside,” Stanton said.
It is clear from both these testimonies and the school’s legacy that the Catholic faith and health studies are intertwined at the Hackensack Meridian Health School of Medicine—the school is the only private school of medicine in New Jersey, and one of only five Catholic schools of medicine in the nation.
Such small numbers exemplify how Seton Hall is one of few schools able to stick to its religious roots without compromising its high standard in medical education.
The buildings themselves are a result of a long-term partnership between Seton Hall and Hackensack Meridian. The partnership has allowed students of many different paths in medicine to access modern, team-based training, complete with “state-of-the-art facility with modern and fully-equipped spaces for teaching, learning, studying, researching and applying clinical skills,” according to the Seton Hall website, that will “encourage interprofessional education among Seton Hall’s various health-related disciplines.”
Students hoping to become doctors, nurses, and other health professions all come together at this new school to pursue their studies. The new campus is located in the towns of Clifton and Nutley, only 10 miles from the main campus in South Orange.
Alisa Stewart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.