Ascension St. John: Celebrating the Past 100 Years of Excellent Care with a New, Unified Name

Posted on March 1, 2023.

On a chilly February day in 1920, General John J. Pershing joined a host of Tulsa dignitaries at a former truck farm at 21st Street and Utica Avenue, stuck a common gardening spade in the ground, and turned over the first earth of the future construction site of St. John’s Hospital, now Ascension St. John Medical Center.

The spade was used for many Ascension St. John groundbreakings through the early 2000s. General Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, was in Tulsa on February 11, 1920, for a downtown parade and a speech at the Tulsa Convention Hall, now known as the Tulsa Theater, when he made his brief stop for the groundbreaking ceremony. “My hope is that you have planned this institution large enough,” the Tulsa World reported Pershing saying at the ceremony, ”For if your wonderful city continues to grow in the next few years as it has in the past, you will certainly need a large one.”

The general was absolutely right. In October 2018, St. John Health System announced plans to add Ascension to its name as part of a national effort to make it easier for patients to access care as part of our nationwide Ascension family, the second largest Catholic non-profit health system in the United States. October 1, 2019, marked the official beginning of our unified brand as Ascension St. John. Branding of interior and exterior signage at hospitals, clinics, security vehicles, ID badges, and even new scrubs for our providers unites our system as one with one of the largest, most advanced Catholic health systems in the nation. Once the signage changes were complete, branding celebrations were held at each location the week of February 10-14, 2020. The new look brings a new dimension to Ascension St. John. “While we are first and foremost a medical organization, we are also a faith-based one,” said Ascension St. John CEO and Oklahoma Ministry Market Executive, Jeffrey D. Nowlin, FACHE. “The symbolism contained in our new brand—the tri-colored trinity and the very name ‘Ascension,’ a reference to Jesus’ ascent into heaven—serve as a reminder to us, and as a confirmation to our patients that we hold a promise of healthcare that is safe and that leaves no one behind.”

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