History 1966-1979

In the 1960s, a group of prominent desert residents recognize the need for a new hospital to serve the rapidly growing Coachella Valley. Funds from the Palm Springs Desert Classic golf tournment (renamed the Bob Hope Desert Classic in 1965) help to finance construction. General and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower consent to the naming of the hospital for the former President, who tells his friend Walter H. Annenberg, "I must tell you that it is the greatest honor I have ever received to have a medical center named after me." This timeline provides a glimpse at some of the key events and generous contributions that helped to shape Eisenhower Medical Center.


  • Bob and Dolores Hope donate 80 acres of land to serve as the site of a new hospital.


  • Edward Durrell Stone, called "the most versatile designer of his generation" by Time magazine, is named architect for the new hospital. Stone also designed the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.


  • Dolores Hope named President of the Board of Trustees.


  • Dwight Eisenhower dies at Walter Reed Army Medical Center at age 78 after a lengthy illness.
  • Bob Hope emcees groundbreaking for Eisenhower Medical Center attended by more than 4,000 people including Governor Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Edgar Eisenhower (brother of Dwight Eisenhower).
  • Dolores Hope spearheads the formation of the Eisenhower Medical Center Auxiliary.


  • New York fundraising dinner raises $1.6 million for Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • Construction begins on Probst Professional Building. The building is designed by Edward Durrell Stone who designed the main hospital.
  • Rio del Sol Road, the main street in front of the site of Eisenhower Medical Center is renamed Bob Hope Drive.


  • A Los Angeles fundraising dinner nets $1.8 million for Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • President Richard Nixon dedicates 138-bed Eisenhower Memorial Hospital before 15,000 invited guests.
  • In December, Eisenhower Medical Center admits its first patient. The hospital has a staff of 20 physicians and 225 employees.


  • Bob Hope Classic raises $336,600 for Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • Vice President Spiro T. Agnew dedicates Probst Professional Building, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Walter F. Probst.
  • 500 people attend the Auxiliary’s first "Voices of Christmas" black tie dinner. The Auxiliary now has 1,476 members.


  • Nuclear Medicine Department opens.
  • Thunderbird Five Star Club raises $1 million for Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • Dedication of Collectors Corner Resale Store.
  • Eisenhower Medical Center Outpatient Lab opens.
  • Desert Island Five Star Classic raises $1 million for original Surgical Pavilion.


  • Ground is broken for the $3.2 million Peter Kiewit Professional Building.
  • Arthritis clinic opens.
  • The Eisenhower Medical Center Auxiliary’s cookbook, "Five Star Favorites: Recipes from Friends of Mamie and Dwight D. Eisenhower," sells out instantly, raising more than $100,000 for Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • Diabetes program founded.


  • Eldorado Country Club fundraising dinner nets $1.4 million for Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • Dedication of 43,000 square-foot Kiewit Professional Building, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Peter Kiewit.
  • Groundbreaking for 47-bed Mamie Eisenhower (east wing) addition to Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • Ultrasound first offered at Eisenhower Medical Center.


  • Admissions to Eisenhower Medical Center top 5,000.
  • Eisenhower Medical Center expands its cardiology service to meet increased demand for heart health care.
  • First whole body CT (computerized tomography) scanner in Coachella Valley installed at Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • Dolores Hope elected Chairman of the Board of Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • Peter Kiewit elected President of the Board of Trustees.


  • Cardiac Rehabilitation program opens at Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • Tamarisk Friends raise $2 million and Thunderbird gala raises $1.8 million for Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • Groundbreaking ceremonies are held for a third medical office building - the Wright Professional Building.


  • Indian Wells Friends raise $1 million for Eisenhower Medical Center east wing expansion.
  • Groundbreaking for Wright Professional Building.
  • Eisenhower Memorial Hospital east wing dedicated by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., in the presence of Mamie Eisenhower.
  • Open heart surgery program introduced at Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • Industrialist Corwin Denney donates $1 million for the establishment of an education and research fund, and an additional $140,000 for construction of a heliport.


  • Ambassador and Mrs. Walter H. Annenberg donate $4 million for the construction of the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences. It is the largest single donation ever received by Eisenhower Medical Center.
  • Former President Gerald Ford dedicates the Wright Building. $1.5 million of the $3 million building is donated by Mrs. Harold (Hazel) Wright in memory of her late husband.
  • John L. Sinn replaces the late Peter Kiewit as President of Trustees.
  • Motion picture producer Hal B. Wallis donates $1.2 million for a building to be used for medical research.
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