Donor seeks to generate matching scholarship gifts

During their first days of medical school, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine students are ceremoniously cloaked in a white coat and take an oath of professionalism and empathy.

The rite of passage symbolizes the students’ commitment to become compassionate healers.

This patient-centered focus inspired the parents of one TCOM Class of 2014 member to make an unprecedented gift to help ensure that financial burdens do not interfere with the unlimited potential of these future doctors.

The parents, who wish to remain anonymous, have offered to fund seven full-tuition scholarships – known as St. Luke, the Physician Scholarships -for future TCOM students in financial need.  They want their commitment to serve as a catalyst to additional scholarship gifts, particularly from TCOM alumni.  To underscore this desire, the donors have structured their gift as a 2:1 match against new alumni scholarship commitments, to a ceiling of $200,000.  The matching amount of $400,000 will generate $600,000 or more in total scholarship support to TCOM students.

"This very generous gift will open doors of opportunity to talented students by removing the burden of a large debt for the cost of their educations," said Don Peska, DO, Dean of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. "The gift also will help the UNT Health Science Center continue to recruit the best and brightest students from diverse backgrounds."

The scholarships will be directed toward students with demonstrated financial need and whose strength of character is documented through essays and personal interviews.

Financial concern is the primary cause of college attrition. While UNTHSC strives to make medical education affordable for all students, the average TCOM graduate leaves school with $126,318 of debt.

Aside from causing stress, debt burdens also exacerbate the shortage of primary care physicians by steering new doctors into more lucrative specialty fields.

"These scholarships will help inspire them to enter the field of primary care and practice in rural areas because they won’t have as large a debt hanging over their heads," said Joel Daboub, Assistant Dean of Admissions. "We are very grateful for this generous student support."

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