PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Einstein Healthcare Network kicked off a year-long celebration Thursday night of their 150th anniversary.
Over twelve hundred peopled filled the National Constitution Center to help recognize the achievement, in a ceremony hosted by Seinfeld star Jason Alexander and closed out with a performance from the legendary Diana Ross.
But what does Seinfeld and The Supremes have to do with healthcare?
“It was the idea of our CEO and our board, to do a celebration that was open to everyone. We wanted to give back” explained Einstein Chief Marketing Officer Joan Grubernick. “When we were looking for talent we wanted make sure the talent represented people who could talk to all of our people. Jason Alexander is an iconic television figure, but he’s also a singer, an actor, and even a magician – so we knew he had the personality to bring our communities together.”
As for Diana Ross, “She spans generations, she spans cultures, much like Einstein” said Grubernick.
Started in 1866, Einstein started as a Jewish hospital with the mission to help all in need. Alexander led the crowd through the hospital’s history, from its humble beginnings to its current day status as a leading regional healthcare facility. Among the crowd were Einstein staff, docs and donors, and even a few patients with remarkable stories. Congressman Chaka Fattah was there to celebrate the legacy of Einstein, and to take in the performance from Diana Ross.
“I think it’s an appropriate recognition of the class that Einstein has brought to its work that Diana would be here for this.” explained Fattah. The theme from Mahogany is Fattah’s favorite Ross tune, “It’s about Billy Dee running for Congress, so that’s why I like it” he laughed.
Diana Ross kept things quick and uptempo with a hit-packed set to close the evening. In a shimmering, flowing shirt and a jewel-encrusted microphone the soul singer ripped through classics like “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “Upside Down”, closing out the short set with her version of “I Will Survive” before rushing off the stage.
The celebration at the National Constitution Center is just the first of a slate of events this year to mark Einstein Healthcare Group’s 150th anniversary, including talks at the Franklin Institute and a weekend gala in November.