University to unveil new signage for Louis Stokes Health Sciences Center May 11

The campus community is invited to attend this week’s dedication of new signage recognizing Rep. Louis Stokes’ contributions to Case Western Reserve’s health sciences campus. On Friday, May 11, the university will host a 9 a.m. breakfast in the lobby of the Biomedical Research Building and a dedication program beginning at 10 a.m. An unveiling of the new signage will follow in the plaza just outside the building’s west entrance.

President Barbara R. Snyder will be joined by a broad range of officials from state and federal government, as well as leaders from the local area.  The event recognizes the immense contributions Congressman Stokes made to health and education during his three decades in the U.S. House of Representatives. It also honors an undergraduate alumnus who serves today as a member of the faculty of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to the breakfast and dedication by contacting Jennie Szegedy at or 368.0565.  The breakfast is complimentary.

Throughout his time in elected office, Stokes demonstrated a commitment to enhancing the health and well-being of his own constituents, as well as citizens across the country.

While in Congress, health care was an important issue for Stokes. He served on the Bipartisan Commission on Comprehensive Health Care Reform (the Pepper Commission) and on the House Appropriations Committee and subcommittees on health and human services, as well as labor and education. He chaired the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust and helped drive the creation of Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, one of the first predominantly African-American medical schools in the country.

At Case Western Reserve, Stokes helped secure funding for the Biomedical Research Building, the Minority Affairs Office at the School of Medicine and the Healthy People 2000 initiative, among many others. He also sponsors the Louis Stokes Fellowship in Community Development and the Louis Stokes Leadership Symposium on Social Issues and the Community.

In 1994, Case Western Reserve University renamed its health sciences center at the Biomedical Research Building the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Center.

At the dedication ceremony that year, Edgar B. Jackson Jr. (CLC ’62, MED ’66), clinical professor of medicine and senior adviser to the president and CEO of University Hospitals, discussed Stokes’ commitment to health care:

“He has a long history of working for improved access to health care for all Americans, especially those who are socially and economically disadvantaged,” he said. “And though he has worked on education and ethics, intelligence and surveillance for our nation, his greatest fervor seems to have been saved for his many efforts to support health care for the underserved of our nation.”

A number of landmarks around Cleveland and the country bear his name, including The Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Administration Hospital, The Louis Stokes Annex of the Cleveland Public Library, the Louis Stokes Laboratories at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., and the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library at Howard University.

Over the years, Stokes has received 26 honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities, and in 2003, Congress honored him with The Congressional Distinguished Service Award. Stokes began practicing law in Cleveland in 1953. He was elected to the House of Representatives, representing the east side of Cleveland, in 1968, where he was the first African-American member of Congress from Ohio. He served 15 terms before his retirement in 1999—making him the first African-American in the history of the U.S. Congress to retire having completed 30 years in office. He is now a partner in the law firm Squire, Sanders & Dempsey.