The American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) has graduated more than 4,500 physicians since its founding in 1978. The school marked a new chapter in its history on May 26, as members of the St. Maarten government, AUC leadership, and officials from DeVry Inc. gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the start of the initial phase of an extensive expansion of the St. Maarten campus.
The first phase of the campus project, budgeted at around $30 million, will include construction of two new academic buildings housing an anatomy lab, clinical skills training lab, and simulation center, as well as additional study and learning spaces for students. It is the single largest building project in the history of DeVry, which acquired AUC last summer and immediately committed to significant investments in the campus infrastructure.
“This is a momentous occasion for both the AUC School of Medicine and the St. Maarten community,” said Andrew Jeon, MD, MBA, president of AUC. “By joining together to break ground on the campus, we are recommitting ourselves to our mission of educating compassionate and capable healthcare professionals to serve society. These new buildings will be the heart and soul of the AUC campus.”
Jeon was joined in the ceremonial first dig by Bill Hughson, president of DeVry’s Healthcare Group; AUC leadership; and members of the St. Maarten government, including Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin.
Prime Minister Wescot-Williams said she was pleased to see DeVry moving forward with the project “just a short nine months” since acquiring the school. “DeVry is good for AUC and will be a good partner for St. Maarten,” she said, adding that her government would continue to explore economic-zone legislation to benefit AUC and other similar institutions.
Deputy Prime Minister Marlin noted that the campus project “will help expand the economy of St. Maarten.”
Ron Testa, PhD, AUC’s medical sciences dean, said the campus development will have a significant impact on the AUC student experience. “This allows AUC to follow through and even strengthen our commitment to high academic standards by providing our students with an environment that will support their efforts for success,” he said.
The two new academic buildings are slated for completion by August 2013, in time for AUC’s fall semester.