From the Annals of NIH History

75 Years Ago: President Franklin Roosevelt at NIH

BY MICHELE LYONS, OFFICE OF NIH HISTORY

president roosevelt at podium in front of NIH Building One

 

 

COURTESY OF NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE

The first president to visit NIH in Bethesda was the one responsible for its construction there—Franklin D. Roosevelt. On October 31, 1940—75 years ago this fall—he dedicated the campus, speaking on the patio of Building 1. In anticipation of the war to come, he said, “We cannot be a strong nation unless we are a healthy nation. And so we must recruit not only men and materials but also knowledge and science in the service of national strength. That is what we are doing here.” But he also made the point that the highest calling of NIH staff and volunteers is to “save life and not destroy it.”

 

To hear his speech, go to https://history.nih.gov/research/audio/1940-10-31_fdr.mp3.

For a transcript, go to https://history.nih.gov/research/downloads/rooseveltdededication.pdf.

To watch a video, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrVZblIYljo&feature=youtu.be.