by Christopher Snowbeck
As a young physician, Gianrico Farrugia admired Mayo Clinic’s Plummer Building, a historic landmark with massive bronze doors and a soaring bell tower that projects the enduring prestige of the clinic. His reverence, however, didn’t extend to its very peak. The top, he noticed in the late 1980s, “had this really ugly aluminum cylinder.” Fifteen years later, as the Plummer Building underwent a major restoration, Farrugia became obsessed with the chance to make a change. He uncovered proof that when the landmark first opened, it was topped with a lantern-shaped cupola — not the metallic cylinder. The photo startled old-timers and helped persuade clinic officials at the last minute to place a recreated cupola at the building’s apex. “Every weekend, I would come into the archives, put on a pair of white gloves, to find the photo,” said Farrugia, who years earlier had heard a tour guide mention the cupola. “One of my characteristics is I file things, and I bring them up at the right time.” Farrugia is now bringing the same approach to the top of the entire Mayo organization.
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Context: Gianrico Farrugia, M.D. is president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. Prior to serving as vice president, Mayo Clinic, and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida, Dr. Farrugia was director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Individualized Medicine, which is responsible for bringing genomics into routine clinical care. Dr. Farrugia also was co-founder of the Center for Innovation at Mayo Clinic. You can read more information about Mayo Clinic here.