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New name for children's hospital honors Duker family

The Capital Region's only children's hospital got a new name today: The Bernard and Millie Duker Children's Hospital at Albany Medical Center.

The new name is in recognition of the Duker family, whose foundation has donated $25 million to Albany Medical Center, including a record $15.5 million gift last fall that will allow the children's hospital to continue to provide care and make renovation of space next to the facility possible.

The Bernard and Millie Foundation was established by William Duker of Westerlo and New York City, his wife Sharon and their son West. The gift was made in honor of Duker's parents, the late Bernard and Millie Duker, whom he described as "humble and hard-working" lifelong residents of Albany.

“It was inspired by my parents’ love of children, especially my four brothers and me," said William Duker. "It reflects their commitment to the health and safety of all young people. But the magnitude of the donation also underscores the importance of this world-class children’s health care facility to the region — and to the many, many children and families it serves every day, every year."

The benefactor remained anonymous until today, when the new name and a sign was unveiled at the facility.

"This is a landmark day in the history of Albany Medical Center," said Albany Med President and CEO James Barba. "And on behalf of the 8,000 employees of the Medical Center and the thousands and thousands of infants and children cared for at the Children’s Hospital, I offer a heartfelt thank you to the Dukers — past and present."

The children's hospital was established in 1986 after Albany Med's pediatric services had grown to include all of the programs traditionally found in free-standing children's hospitals. Today, it serves children and families in 25 counties.

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