News

3.15.2016

Annual Luncheon Brings Donors and Scholars Together

Rupa Prasad knew she wanted to attend the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, but it was a critical financial component that ultimately helped her make it happen.

The fourth year Miller School medical student, who is pursuing a career in anesthesiology, says her education might not have been possible if not for the funding she received as a Paul J. DiMare Medical Scholarship recipient.

“Opting to come to UM and the Miller School, over my home state school, was a difficult choice that was made significantly easier by Paul DiMare’s generosity,” said Prasad. “As I near graduation in two short months and Match Day in less than two weeks, I can reflect back to that decision four years ago and confidently say that coming to UM for medical school was one of the best decisions of my life.”

Prasad, who is graduating in May with the Class of 2016, spoke at the Medical Education Donors and Scholars Luncheon, which was held March 5 on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle to bring together grateful students with alumni and major donors of Miller School scholarships.

Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., thanked the donors for their ongoing support.

“Many bright young scholars might not be able to pursue their medical education without the financial assistance that you make possible through scholarships, grants, and endowments,” Goldschmidt said. “Your generosity allows us to attract the nation’s finest students and faculty, and to perpetuate our reputation as a top-tier academic medical institution.”

The luncheon came at a time when there are growing concerns about student debt. In his inaugural address in January, University of Miami President Julio Frenk committed himself to boosting financial aid to meet 100 percent of student need.

Maria Victoria Egusquiza, M.D. ’87, spoke on behalf of the UM Miller School of Medicine Medical Alumni Association (MAA), which promotes the School’s relationship with its alumni and students.

“This relationship is vital, because scholarship support is one of our key focus areas of interest,” said Egusquiza, who is the MAA President. “Over the years, many alumni have given generously to medical scholarships, particularly to the John K. Robinson Fund (JKR). Our success is also due to alumni who are actively working with the Medical Advancement staff to increase the annual pool of scholarship funds by creating class endowed scholarships and increasing contributions to the JKR Fund.”

The event featured a video, which allowed several Miller School alumni to put into their own words how important scholarship money was to them during their years in medical school.

It was a sentiment echoed by Alex Mechaber, M.D. ’94, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education at the Miller School, who was also a scholarship recipient as a student, and knows first-hand the difference philanthropy makes in a student’s life.

“I hope that you too will one day be inspired to continue the wonderful example set by our donors, so that, like you, future generations of students can have access to a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine education,” he said.

For the medical students, it was an opportunity to express their gratitude to those who had invested in their future.

“I have had tremendous mentors and countless opportunities that I am so grateful for,” Prasad said. “I can only hope that one day I, too, will have the opportunity to support and make a meaningful impact in the lives of future UM medical students.”

Some of the donors who were in attendance at the luncheon:

Rupa Prasad knew she wanted to attend the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, but it was a critical financial component that ultimately helped her make it happen.

The fourth year Miller School medical student, who is pursuing a career in anesthesiology, says her education might not have been possible if not for the funding she received as a Paul J. DiMare Medical Scholarship recipient.

“Opting to come to UM and the Miller School, over my home state school, was a difficult choice that was made significantly easier by Paul DiMare’s generosity,” said Prasad. “As I near graduation in two short months and Match Day in less than two weeks, I can reflect back to that decision four years ago and confidently say that coming to UM for medical school was one of the best decisions of my life.”

Prasad, who is graduating in May with the Class of 2016, spoke at the Medical Education Donors and Scholars Luncheon, which was held March 5 on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle to bring together grateful students with alumni and major donors of Miller School scholarships.

Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., thanked the donors for their ongoing support.

“Many bright young scholars might not be able to pursue their medical education without the financial assistance that you make possible through scholarships, grants, and endowments,” Goldschmidt said. “Your generosity allows us to attract the nation’s finest students and faculty, and to perpetuate our reputation as a top-tier academic medical institution.”

The luncheon came at a time when there are growing concerns about student debt. In his inaugural address in January, University of Miami President Julio Frenk committed himself to boosting financial aid to meet 100 percent of student need.

Maria Victoria Egusquiza, M.D. ’87, spoke on behalf of the UM Miller School of Medicine Medical Alumni Association (MAA), which promotes the School’s relationship with its alumni and students.

“This relationship is vital, because scholarship support is one of our key focus areas of interest,” said Egusquiza, who is the MAA President. “Over the years, many alumni have given generously to medical scholarships, particularly to the John K. Robinson Fund (JKR). Our success is also due to alumni who are actively working with the Medical Advancement staff to increase the annual pool of scholarship funds by creating class endowed scholarships and increasing contributions to the JKR Fund.”

The event featured a video, which allowed several Miller School alumni to put into their own words how important scholarship money was to them during their years in medical school.

It was a sentiment echoed by Alex Mechaber, M.D. ’94, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education at the Miller School, who was also a scholarship recipient as a student, and knows first-hand the difference philanthropy makes in a student’s life.

“I hope that you too will one day be inspired to continue the wonderful example set by our donors, so that, like you, future generations of students can have access to a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine education,” he said.

For the medical students, it was an opportunity to express their gratitude to those who had invested in their future.

“I have had tremendous mentors and countless opportunities that I am so grateful for,” Prasad said. “I can only hope that one day I, too, will have the opportunity to support and make a meaningful impact in the lives of future UM medical students.”

Some of the donors who were in attendance at the luncheon:

• Paul DiMare, University of Miami Trustee. He and his wife Swanee are outstanding philanthropists. Among their many gifts is an extraordinary $6 million to fund medical scholarships.

• Arthur Hertz, also a UM Trustee, representing the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation and its support of the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service (DOCS) program.

• The Rotary Club of Miami: Tim Ryan, President; Diane Landsberg, Immediate Past President; Philip Seipp, Treasurer; and Jay Almeida, Chair-Public Image, who support UM students through the Thomas Brown McClelland Scholarship.

• Roy Elterman, M.D. ’74, who recently donated $1.5 million from the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation, which he co-founded, to establish two scholarships that will be granted for the first time this year: the Dr. Roy D. and Ragen S. Elterman Endowed Medical Scholarship Fund, and the Morton and Alma Elterman Endowed Medical Scholarship Fund.

• Ronald Trapana, M.D. ’77, and his wife, Maryrose, who have made a generous gift toward increasing the pool of scholarship funds. There are currently three Trapana Scholars at the Miller School.

• Jerome Sheldon and Gerald Pinnas, both M.D. ’64, who represent The Medical Class of 1964 Peter Lake Memorial Endowed Scholarship.

• Philip Edwards, M.D. ’66, and his wife, Judi Edwards, who have left a bequest to establish the Edwards Family Medical Endowed Scholarship.

• Gerald Friedman, M.D. ’66, and Barbara Friedman, longtime donors to the Miller School of Medicine who established the Friedman Family Endowed Scholarship Fund.

• Carl Alving, M.D. ’66, and his wife, Barbara, who have established the Alving Endowed Award, which recognizes the medical student with the most promising or best research accomplishment.

• Bernie Stein and his wife, Dr. Lyn Pont. As the attorney representing the estate of Jeannette Newton, and through the generosity of the Newton family, Stein was able to secure a gift of more than $1 million to support medical scholarships.

• The Class of ’86, which has created the Class of ’86 Endowed Scholarship Fund, which began awarding a scholarship this year.

• The contributors to the John K. Robinson Fund.

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