Bernard M. Trager to be remembered for JCTC advocacy | JCTC

Bernard M. Trager to be remembered for JCTC advocacy

Each day thousands of healthcare students prepare for their careers in a state-of-the-art facility on Jefferson Community & Technical College's Downtown Campus. Hospitals and other healthcare providers rely on the education and experiences of those students to ensure the highest level of patient care.

Now, the 28-month-old Health Sciences Building stands in tribute to a dedicated community leader, former Republic Bank chairman and founder Bernard M. Trager, whose vision and support ultimately led to the building's construction. It was the first new building on the Downtown Campus in more than 30 years.

During a ceremony that was held on January 25, 2013, Trager was remembered with a permanent plaque, placed in the building in his honor. Trager died Feb. 10, 2012. In 2005, Mr. Trager asked me what we needed, said Tony Newberry, Ph.D., Jefferson's president and CEO. I said we needed help gathering support for a $25.6 million vision. Our healthcare programs were scattered across multiple campuses and our facilities were aging. It was time for a new facility.

Before long, Newberry said, Trager had convinced the presidents of every Louisville hospital company to set aside competition and come together in support of the much needed building. The united front that resulted helped showcase a critical workforce need, leading to funding by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2006.

You won't fully appreciate that building until you appreciate that incredible coalition of healthcare leaders and, of course, Mr. Trager, who understood the need so clearly and brought everyone together, Newberry said. Now every faculty and staff member, student and visitor will know our gratitude.

The 100,000-square-foot Health Sciences Building houses 18 healthcare programs. The new building also has allowed for the creation of high-tech patient simulation labs, cross disciplinary interaction and the creation of new programs, including ultrasonography and medical laboratory technology.

More than just a classroom, the building also is frequently used by community groups for meetings and conferences. It also has become the center of campus activities.  Radiography student Megan Gregory, valedictorian of her high school class, said it was her campus visit that helped her decide to attend Jefferson.

Once I visited the campus, it just pulled me, she said. The radiography program has all the equipment we need to learn and practice. It s a beautiful facility. Plus the faculty here care about you and really help you succeed.

Trager, who was known throughout the community for his community service and philanthropy, was a former director of the: Fund for the Arts, Cathedral Heritage Foundation, Greater Louisville Inc./The Metro Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts of America, Louisville Community Foundation, Louisville/Jefferson County Redevelopment Authority and Health Enterprises Network.

He and his wife, Jean, earned numerous accolades, including the 1999 National Conference of Community and Justice Weisberg Brotherhood Award, the Caritas Foundation Community Leaders of the Year in 2003 and the University of Louisville Hickman-Camp Award recognizing their support of the Athletic Department. They also received the 2006 Blanche B. Ottenheimer Award from the Jewish Community Center for their unselfish service to the community of Louisville. Trager also was named 2011 Louisvillian of the Year by the Advertising Federation of Louisville.

Trager was involved in Republic Bank's We CARE Awards program, which recognizes businesses across Kentuckiana that encourage their employees to become involved in volunteer community service activities. Jefferson was presented the award in 2009.