November 14, 2008

Coalition formed to grow Canby Robinson Society

Featured Image

On hand at this week’s launch of the Coalition for the Canby Robinson Society were, from left, Douglas and Sondra Cruickshank, Kitty Murfree and Jeff Balser, M.D. Ph.D. (photo by Tommy Lawson)

Coalition formed to grow Canby Robinson Society

For 30 years, the Canby Robinson Society (CRS) has encouraged and honored those who support Vanderbilt Medical Center. On Nov. 10, a new group, the Coalition for the Canby Robinson Society, launched with the goal of continuing the success of CRS.

The coalition is made up of 26 alumni and community members with a wide range of associations to the Medical Center. It will be charged with recruiting new members to CRS and broadening the scale of support for VMC.

The coalition will be led by Robert Collins, M.D., professor of Pathology, Robert McNeilly Jr., and Judson Randolph, M.D. The trio began meeting 10 years ago to build a scholarship program for Vanderbilt University School of Medicine students, and their commitment led to the development of the coalition.

All three attended Vanderbilt as undergraduates. Randolph and Collins were medical students together, and Randolph and McNeilly are past presidents of CRS.

“The Canby Robinson Society has a great reputation and has grown mostly on its own through that reputation. This is a push to increase that. It will bring more intentional recruitment of additional members,” McNeilly said.

Once the idea was proposed, similar models from other universities and medical centers were studied.

The leaders are especially passionate about reducing the debt of medical school students.

“Our working with the CRS through the coalition is a natural extension of our interest in scholarship,” Collins said.

“Students generally borrow inordinate amounts of money to complete their schooling, and we want to reduce that debt burden,” McNeilly said.

“As a result, their choice of specialty would be much freer, and it would attract to Vanderbilt even more first-class candidates. And ultimately, many will return to Nashville to practice, which builds up the community and maintains the tremendous accomplishments of the Medical Center.”

“I still think of medicine as a calling, and I refuse to think of it as an enterprise. I want them to be able to follow their calling,” Randolph said.

“The coalition will be a wonderful vehicle for increasing support to all areas of the Medical Center and to further engage donors about what matters most to them,” said CRS Director Missy Eason. “The Canby Robinson Society reflects giving to all areas of the Medical Center, from scholarships to chairs to facilities, research and departmental programs.”

For more information about CRS, go to