At the dedication ceremony, NIH Acting Director Ruth L. Kirschstein, M.D., noted that the location of the Paul G. Rogers Plaza is especially fitting because Mr. Rogers has contributed so much to the history of the NIH and to the advances of medical research and public health in America. These same grounds were dedicated more than 60 years ago by then President Franklin D. Roosevelt as the National Institutes of Health campus. Dr. Kirschstein listed some of the highlights of Mr. Rogers' legislative career including introducing the National Cancer Act and the Research on Aging Act. "Mr. Rogers knows how to get things done," Dr. Kirschstein said.
Former U.S. Representative John Edward Porter, who was a leading voice for medical research during his 20-year tenure in the U.S. Congress, called Mr. Rogers his "mentor and model....a man who can move society to a higher level. Mr. Rogers is a man of influence in a city of influence." James Symington, another former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, declared that Mr. Rogers has proven that "public service does not need to end when a person leaves public office." Mr. Steve Lawton of the Biotechnology Industry Organization described Mr. Rogers as "a Congressional giant whose knowledge, wit, courtliness, and style made him an ideal legislative committee chairman." Mr. Lawton was chief counsel to the subcommittee that Mr. Rogers chaired what is now called the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment.
Mary Woolley, president of Research!America, read letters from the current and several former U.S. Presidents, in which they congratulated Mr. Rogers on this latest honor. "We are only beginning to see the dimensions of his leadership, and the significance of his legacy to this nation and the world," Ms. Woolley said. " He is a champion's champion in the fight for better health."
Mr. Rogers responded to the messages of praise by saying that he is honored to have a permanent tribute on the NIH campus. He noted that the NIH has been called the "crown jewel" of the Federal government, and these grounds will be visited by young and eager new scientists, as well as by more senior scientists, including winners of Nobel prizes and Lasker awards. "In all my years, nothing has given me more pride than participating in the success of research," Mr. Rogers said. "Because without research, there is no hope."