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Romance Takes the Center Stage at Balboa Park

February 15, 1990|DAVID NELSON

Although ceremonial shovels were provided for Atkinson; Dr. Stuart Brown, chairman of the UCSD ophthalmology department, and Donald and Darlene Shiley, center benefactors, the bare outlines of that vision--in the form of a few steel girders--were already rising on the moonscape of bare, bulldozed earth at the eastern edge of the campus. Because it was a rare, wintry San Diego forenoon, most guests huddled in the white tent erected for the occasion. At a reception after the ceremony, many conversations turned to the university's ongoing growth as a major center for medical research, education and treatment.

Addresses were made by Darlene Shiley; Dr. Robert Resnik, the medical school's dean for clinical affairs, and Brown, who said, "This building, and the many millions of dollars involved in it, came from the citizens of San Diego."

But the scene was repeatedly stolen by Benjamin Dreyfuss. Scene-stealing may be an art that Benjamin, 3, learned at home--his father is actor Richard Dreyfuss. The child's mother, Jeramie, brought him to the ceremony as a gesture of thanks to Brown, who in 1987 successfully treated the boy for a rare eye disease.

Jeramie Dreyfuss wrangled the microphone from her son long enough to say, "We've been with Dr. Brown since the beginning (of his eye center campaign), and we're delighted." She said that her husband had planned to attend but was in North Carolina making a film with actress Holly Hunter.

In addition to the Shileys, who donated $1 million, the guest list included other major benefactors, most notably developer Ernest Hahn. Many later lunched on Waldorf salad, lemon chicken and chocolate tortes at the chancellor's official residence.

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