History of Weiss

Weiss Memorial HospitalWeiss Memorial Hospital is named after Louis A. Weiss, a successful Chicago businessman who wanted to give back to the neighborhoods in which he flourished.

Born in 1897 and later described as a “quiet giver,” Weiss was more concerned with the tangible benefits of helping people than with attaining personal recognition. His philanthropic focus centered on the neighborhood where he grew up and marked his business successes. When he died in 1949, Weiss left a will that set aside, through the L.A. Weiss Foundation, a generous sum for charity with the specification that the funds benefit Chicago’s North Side.

In 1950, noted political and civic leader Col. Jacob M. Arvey was instrumental in bringing together members of the Weiss family with members of the Strauss Surgical Group, widely known for innovative surgical techniques, particularly in the field of cancer. Three Strauss brothers, physicians Alfred, Herman and Siegfried, co-founded the hospital with the Weiss family. The hospital was intended as a fitting and lasting memorial to the man whose generosity provided the initial seeding gift.

Weiss Memorial Hospital broke ground in 1952 and opened the following year, with comedian Jimmy Durante as its first registered patient. The Strauss Cancer Center, named after the Strauss family, started more than 30 years ago as a unique entity in a community hospital to promote the research and treatment of cancer care. The Arvey Health Center, a teaching facility at Weiss specifically focused on internal medicine, is named for Col. Jacob M. Arvey.

In 1987, Weiss merged with the University of Chicago Hospitals (now The University of Chicago Medicine), with the belief that the integration of hospitals would produce a highly productive medical establishment for the betterment of health and medical education in Chicago and its surroundings. The union combined the personalized care of a smaller community hospital with the advancements of a major academic medical center, incorporating technology, medical education programs and research, resulting in the highest quality medical treatment available.

A second affiliation agreement in 1992 connected Weiss with the University of Chicago Division of Biological Sciences for the primary purpose of enriching the academic programs at the University of Chicago by increasing the breadth of clinical and academic experience for its medical staff.

In 2002, Vanguard Health Systems and The University of Chicago Medicine formed a joint venture, in which Vanguard had an 80 percent ownership and The University of Chicago Medicine retained a 20 percent stake.

In 2013, Tenet Healthcare Corporation acquired Vanguard Health Systems, Inc., dissolving the joint venture with The University of Chicago Medicine. As part of the Tenet family, Weiss has joined a leading network of hospitals and health care facilities that share the same commitment to providing high quality care to our surrounding communities.

View a Pictorial History about Weiss. 

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