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In October 1955, the Medical Center Women's Club ("MCWC") was formally organized just three months after the University of Mississippi Medical Center opened. It was established as a social club to assist the wives of UMMC faculty and women who hold such positions in becoming acquainted with one another and the community. In addition, members of the MCWC fostered a family spirit in support of the new center.
The initial meeting was conducted at Riverside Park Clubhouse, and the club selected a name and elected officers. At this meeting, the club agreed on four general meetings a year. Also, smaller interest groups in such areas as bridge, needlework and literature were established.
In 1956, responding to the needs of the young medical institution, MCWC added a service division to staff the University Hospital pediatric outpatient clinic. The service division also began hosting an annual Christmas party for the pediatric clinic, staffed the pediatric playroom and ran a bookmobile for hospitalized patients. Under the new organization later known as the UMMC Alliance, the pediatric Christmas party has continued to be supported as well as the Ruth Guyton bookmobile purchased in her honor in 2003.
Many of the club members responded to calls in other areas of the hospital. Realizing the need for a hospital auxiliary, a "sister" organization was established in 1968 and was named the University Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary. The other groups of the auxiliary consisted of the Medical Students Auxiliary, Interns and Residents Auxiliary, and the Dental Students Auxiliary and governed by an elected board and a representative from each of the auxiliaries.
In June 1973, the club assumed a leading role in the Medical Center's first public fund-raising event, the Spring Fling. Funds raised from this event were given to the patients needs fund and the student needs fund. The first Christmas fare was presented on the UMMC campus that same year. Funds raised from these events went to the patient needs fund to relieve the needs of patients and their families. These monies are coordinated by the University Hospital's Office of Volunteer Services.
After 27 years of service to the Medical Center, MCWC undertook a new project to acquire works of art for the health sciences campus. The Art Acquisition Committee solicited contributions to fund this project. Five stained glass panels were commissioned and placed in the Rowland Medical Library and many other works of art were donated to the Medical Center as a result of the committee's work.
On May 6, 1999, members of the Medical Center Women's Club voted to change its bylaws. The changes reflected the membership's desire to expand in ways that would positively impact the lives of the University of Mississippi Medical Center community and the people we serve. The organization is now known as the University of Mississippi Medical Center Alliance ("UMMC Alliance") and is open to anyone, male or female who would like to promote good will and fellowship in support of the Medical Center. The bylaw change also amended its general meetings from four to two a year.
It also prompted a bylaw change to establish a new standing committee to the UMMC Alliance's organizational structure. On Nov. 18, 2003, the attending membership voted to fund a new account and a new committee called the University Support Fund. The committee, with the approval of the UMMC Alliance board, will use the funds to assist the students and help meet the special needs of the various units of the Medical Center.
In response to the need for a chapel in the new University Hospital (dedicated in October 2005 during the 50th anniversary year of the Medical Center), UMMC Alliance took its annual fund-raising Taste of UMC (now in its 18th year) off campus. The response to this event has resulted in tremendous growth in funds to pay for construction and maintenance of the chapel, continued support of the patient needs fund and art acquisition fund.
In 2001, stained glass panels representing the four seasons were commissioned to adorn the chapel in the new University Hospital (which opened its doors to patients in October 2006). One of the windows was paid for by the Alliance in honor of Hilda Conerly. The altar and pulpit were funded by proceeds from the Taste of UMC to finish this beautiful chapel open to all patients, families, visitors and Medical Center employees.
At a special auxiliary meeting Jan. 7, 2005, it was determined that the University Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary had served its original purpose as a fund-raising organization and because some of the member groups no longer existed, it was time for its dissolution. The proposed bylaw change to dissolve the board was unanimous and the bylaw amendment to disburse the remaining funds was approved. The remaining funds were voted on and allocated to the Medical Center's Chapel Fund.
With the dissolution of the University Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary, the UMMC Alliance established an account with the Office of Development. This "UMMC Alliance Fund" is a fund with the University of Mississippi Foundation, a qualified tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code and, therefore, allows contributions and sponsorships to be tax-deductible. The president and treasurer shall serve as authorized signors of the University of Mississippi Medical Center fund ("UMMC Fund").
After more than 50 years of service to UMMC, the organization continues to identify areas of need and provide roles of leadership in fulfilling these needs.