June 20, 2008

VUSM’s Class of ’78 bands together to fund scholarship

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Members of the School of Medicine Class of 1978.

VUSM’s Class of ’78 bands together to fund scholarship

The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Class of 1978 has found a way to establish their legacy and leave a lasting contribution to their alma mater.

The class has raised more than $192,000 to fund an endowed partial scholarship in the School of Medicine. With over 25 gifts and pledges from alumni in 14 states, the scholarship will be a tribute to the Class of 1978 at their 30th reunion this October.

A member of the VUSM Class of 1978 came up with the idea as a way to help current and future VUSM students. Stinson Humphrey, M.D., and Thomas Nygaard, M.D., Class Gift Chairs for the Class of 1978, took up the challenge to raise scholarship funds, assisted by Ann Price, M.D., Executive Director of Medical Alumni Affairs and an alumna of the Class of 1978.

“This scholarship is for me a small way to thank Vanderbilt for all the University and especially the Medical School did to educate and support me 30 years ago,” says Nygaard. “Without receiving financial aid from the Medical School, I would have had a difficult time completing my education. It will be very gratifying to see our class support a deserving medical student. We had a very special class in 1978 and I am not surprised by the level of support that has been demonstrated to date and I trust into the future. To all of my classmates, I give my most sincere thank you.”

The original goal was to raise $100,000 — the minimum amount necessary to establish a partially endowed scholarship at VUSM. An anonymous pledge of $50,000 got things started and in a few short weeks the class blew past its original fund-raising goal.

“The personal way students are treated and supported by faculty, administration, and staff while enrolled at the School of Medicine is, I believe, unique, and it has really struck me over the years,” says Humphrey. “In the case of our class, I believe, this personal touch has led to a desire by class members to be involved through financial support, attendance at reunions and other school functions. The wonderful response of my classmates for this gift has made it an easy and fantastic experience. We are still learning the potential and with more hard work and more donations and pledges, who knows, we might make $300,000 by October.”

Currently, it takes $600,000 to endow a full scholarship. Price said the class hopes to fully endow their scholarship by their 50th reunion.

“I would like to think that our contributions will have a lasting presence and meaningful effect on Vanderbilt Medical School,” Price added. “The ability to work with classmates — true friends throughout the years — to provide scholarship support to a deserving student was highly attractive. We are looking for great things from our Class of 1978 Scholars for years to come.”