Sprinza Weizenblatt Collection

Dedication of the Weizenblatt Health Center
Box I.D. # Description Thumbnail
P2009.12.01 weiz_30a

Dedication of the
Health Center

2:30 P.M.
Sunday, April 26, 1987

The University of North Carolina

  weiz_30b In Memoriam: Sprinza Weizenblatt
April 1, 1895 - April 5, 1985

Sprinza Weizenblatt was born ninety-two years ago in the region of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire then known as Bucovina. She was the second child of six, born to a German-speaking family who loved learning. Her father was a Supervisor of Forestry in the Carpathian Mountains. She spent her childhood in a little village there and drew from him a love for trees and flowers that remained with her throughout her life.

Amid the political pressures prior to World War I and the crumbling of the Hapsburg Empire, Cossack raiders ravaged the countryside and the village of Sprinza's childhood was terrorized. As a result, her family moved to Vienna, before Sprinza reached adolescence. Here she continued her education, and attended medical school. During her time in medical school, she subsisted mainly on merit scholarship and hard work. Sprinza graduated with highest honors and was immediately accepted for graduate study at the world-renowned Vienna Eye Clinic.

It was at the Vienna Eye Clinic that Sprinza Weizenblatt's life became involved with Asheville, North Carolina. There, she met Dr. Harry Briggs, an Asheville ophthalmologist who was studying in Vienna for the winter. He persuaded the brilliant young Dr. Weizenblatt to come to Asheville to work as his associate for $100.00 per month.

It did not take her long to establish an overwhelmingly large practice in the treatment of eye diseases. There are many who are indebted to Dr. Weizenblatt for the preservation or restoration of their eyesight. But the needs of the unfortunate in the community laid heavily upon her and she was soon involved in establishing care for indigents, as well as opening an eye clinic that eventually became the Memorial Mission Eye Service.

Sprinza Weizenblatt's generosity, both professional and personal, took nearly every form. She found ways to serve the poor with good medical attention; she established scholarships to enable good students to receive a good education; she created a "Garden for the Blind" so that those who had lost their sight might enjoy part of the world that she loved.

To honor the life of Sprinza Weizenblatt is not a simple task. She was a woman of many interests and talents. Perhaps the most significant statement of her life was summed u p in her name; she was named "Esperanza" which means "hope." And it was hope that characterized the way she lived her life. She lived a life filled with expectation, and it was that hopefully, joyful expectation that she offered to others.

  weiz_30c Dr. Anne Sagberg, a long-time friend of Sprinza Weizenblatt, recalls that during the last years of Sprinza's life "we were both less sporty and our most delightful spare time activity consisted in driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway reciting German poetry together." A Goethe poem, printed below and translated by Dr. Sagberg, seems a fitting tribute to Dr. Sprinza Weizenblatt.

Over all Ridges is peace,
in all the Treetops
you sense
barely a breeze.
The birds are silent in the Woods
Wait only
Soon you too will be at ease.

Über allen Gipfeln
Ist Ruh,
In allen Wipfeln
Spürest du
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde
Warte nur, balde
Ruhest du auch.

Now time has come for the sleep for which she yearned. She has long since felt that the span of her life and its content has been enough and she has wanted to go. For her we should be glad. The loss is for us to bear.



Presiding, Karl H. Straus
Chair, UNCA Foundation

Music, Vanderbilt Cello Duo
Sidney Baker and Judith Kurt

Invocation...........................Warren H. Cole, M.D.
Chairman Emeritus, Department of Surgery
University of Illinois Medical School, Chicago

Introductions..................................Karl H. Straus

Speaker..............The Honorable James McClure Clarke
House of Representative
United States Congress

Dedication of Building..............David G. Brown
Chancellor, UNCA

Benediction........................Warren H. Cole, M.D.




Whereas, Dr. Sprinza Weizenblatt has been a pioneer in the field of medicine, practicing ophthalmology in Asheville for many years as one of the first women in this field; and

Whereas, she has been for many years a loyal and devoted friend of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, creating endowed funds to provide scholarships as well as support for the library; and

Whereas, she has sought to offer encouragement and financial assistance to needy and deserving students who might have the same opportunity as she did to develop her talents and potential; and

Whereas, she still maintains her professional interests in medicine as well as her concern for students;

Now therefore, be it resolved that in recognition of the outstanding service which this distinguished physician and friend of higher education has rendered to the people of Asheville and to the University of North Carolina at Asheville, that the Board of Trustees of the University hereby designates the campus health facility as

The Sprinza Weizenblatt Health Center and directs that a suitable plaque be erected to indicate the name of this center.

Adopted by  the UNCA Board of  Trustees on March 26, 1987

Sprinza Weizenblatt, M.D.
April 1, 1895 to April 6, 1987

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