Donors and Grateful Scholars Meet at Luncheon

For Miller School medical student Cameron Pole, the Paul J. DiMare Medical Scholarship was a major factor in his decision to come to the University of Miami. Without it, the third-year student, who is specializing in ophthalmology, would have incurred major debt.

Recently, Pole was glad to have the opportunity to deliver a face-to-face “thank you” to the donor who made his Miller School education possible.

“I want Mr. DiMare to know they are not just throwing money into a fund,” said Pole, an M.D. candidate with the Class of 2016. “The students know the scholarship is coming from somewhere, and a lot of people are here at the Miller School thanks to him. He is a direct factor in a lot of doctors being trained today.”

Pole was one of several dozen Miller School students who had the chance to personally thank donors for their scholarship generosity at the annual Donors and Scholars Luncheon, which was held March 7 in the Schoninger Research Quadrangle. The event, a part of Medical Alumni Weekend, brought grateful students together with alumni and major donors of Miller School scholarships.

“Scholarships, grants, and endowments are critical to our medical school, University – and, of course, our students,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of UHealth. “Many bright, young scholars might not be able to pursue their medical education without the financial support that you make possible. Your generosity allows us to attract the brightest students and faculty, and to perpetuate our reputation as a top-tier academic medical institution.”

Among the donors in attendance were:

• University of Miami trustee Paul DiMare, who, along with his wife, Swanee, is a longtime philanthropist. They donated an extraordinary $6 million to fund the Paul J. DiMare Medical Scholarships, the first of which were awarded to Pole and several other students this year.

• Arthur Hertz, a UM trustee who represented the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation, which supports the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. DOCS program, the student-run community health initiative.

• Ronald Trapana, M.D. ’77, and a member of the Medical Parents Council. He and his wife, Maryrose, have made a generous gift toward increasing the Miller School pool of scholarship funds and are the proud parents of second-year medical student Evan Trapana.

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

• Tia Mekras, her son John and his wife, Jimena, were recognized in association with the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation, which created a scholarship in memory of George Mekras, M.D. ’74.

• Bernie Stein and his wife, Lyn Pont, who help students fulfill their dreams of becoming physicians. As the attorney representing the estate of Jeannette Newton, and through the generosity of the Newton family, Stein recently was able to secure a gift of more than $1 million to support medical scholarships.

• Rotary Club of Miami Treasurer Philip Seipp; since 1983, the Rotary Club of Miami has awarded more than $1.8 million to UM medical students through the Thomas Brown McClelland Scholarship.

• Lois Weiss, president of the Aaron and Sylvia Rothenberg Foundation, and Tricia Rothenberg Roth, M.D. ’69. The foundation has created a scholarship in memory of their brother, Kenneth Rothenberg, M.D. ’67. Kenneth’s son, and Lois’ and Tricia’s nephew, Paul Rothenberg, M.D. ’13, was also in attendance. Additionally, the foundation made a generous gift toward the John K. Robinson Scholarship Fund.

The Dean also asked all in the room who support students through gifts to the John K. Robinson Endowed Scholarship Fund to stand and be recognized.

Jeffrey Block, M.D. ’82, president of the Medical Alumni Association, said scholarship support is a key focus among alumni.

“Over the years, many alumni have given generously to medical scholarships, particularly the John K. Robinson Fund,” Block said. “We feel it is critical to “Give Forward to Give Back” and are actively working with the Medical Development staff to increase the annual pool of scholarship funds by creating class endowed scholarships and increasing contributions to scholarships. These are the gifts that will keep on giving.”
The event also featured a video, which allowed students to put into their own words how important scholarship money is to them.

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.

Knowing the difference philanthropy makes in a student’s life, Mechaber had the students recite a pledge vowing they will contribute to scholarship support in years to come.

“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.

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