About 150 staff and retirees of Mayo Clinic lined up out the door of Kinne Auditorium on the Florida campus on May 20. They were there to wish a happy 98th birthday to a friend, advocate and supporter of Mayo Clinic (and the person the auditorium is named for) -- Frances Bartlett Kinne, Ph.D. During the celebration, hosted by Development, Dr. Kinne also took a birthday phone call from Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., vice president, Mayo Clinic. "You'll be happy to know that everybody is behaving here," Dr. Kinne informed Dr. Farrugia to much laughter.
A Jacksonville institution, Dr. Kinne was named the world's first female dean of a college of fine arts (for Jacksonville University) in 1961, and in 1979, she became the university's president -- the first female to lead a university in Florida. A friend to presidents and celebrities, Dr. Kinne was asked to help bring Mayo Clinic to Jacksonville three decades ago by her friend J.E. Davis, who donated the acreage for the Florida campus. Dr. Kinne was happy to help, having first experienced Mayo Clinic as a child growing up in Story City, Iowa. (There has to be a story there.) "Any time we had a problem we felt we couldn't handle, we were up to Mayo," she recalls. "I grew up with Mayo, so I just assumed that there wasn't anything but Mayo." She got her own Mayo Clinic patient number in 1958.
Over the years, Dr. Kinne has hosted many gatherings to bring together physicians and leaders from Rochester and Jacksonville. As she went on to become Jacksonville University's chancellor, and then chancellor emeritus, she continued to support Mayo and serve as a thought leader for Jacksonville. She is a Principal Benefactor of Mayo Clinic, and the Frances Bartlett Kinne Auditorium is named in honor of her generosity. "One of my causes is continuing with the philosophy of Mayo that has made it so successful in the past, because it's so unique," Dr. Kinne says. "I want people to know it's something you can't get somewhere else. I'm proud of Mayo, so I want to tell the world about it."
Dr. Kinne has the distinction of being an honorary member of the Mayo Clinic in Florida staff, an honor conferred by the Office of Staff Services. "There is only one Fran Kinne," says Dr. Farrugia, "and Mayo Clinic, our city, and our nation are indebted to her for her unbridled optimism, her wisdom and many contributions to improve the health and well-being of our citizens."
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