Today, the dream of a career in medicine often comes with a heavy burden of debt. In the Class of 2017, only 42 students graduated debt-free.
The remaining students carried an average debt of $201,370.
Janice Heckel, M’80, H’84, knew the toll this debt could take on students and how it might influence their choice of specialty. She included a bequest to the MCV Foundation in her will, and after her passing in 2014, the Janice L. Heckel Scholarship was established in the School of Medicine.
In February, Heckel’s brother Steven spoke at the MCV Campus Endowed Scholarship Brunch, saying his sister wanted to defray the educational expenses of medical students so they could feel free and empowered to become the types of doctors they truly want to be.
As they pursue that goal, Heckel said his sister would have wanted the future physicians, pharmacists, nurses, therapists and dentists in the room to keep a sense of humor and perpetuate the kindness from which they’ve all benefited.
The annual scholarship brunch provides an opportunity for donors to the five health sciences schools to meet the students who are benefiting from their gifts and investments. This year, more students than ever before have had their burden lightened, as the number of endowed scholarships at the MCV Foundation grew to 391 funds and paid out $2.8 million in scholarship awards.
In the School of Medicine, the 1838 Campaign aims to increase the number and size of its scholarships to give the school a competitive edge for recruiting top students, rewarding student excellence and reducing the burden of debt. Full- and half-tuition scholarships are most urgently needed.
Thanks to the support of alumni and friends, 21 new student scholarships already have been established during the 1838 Campaign. An additional nine will be awarded this fall, and 16 more are currently in the works. Another 46 existing scholarship funds have increased in size with the addition of new gifts.
“We’re beyond thankful for the friends who have already invested in the future of our students and we’re eager to continue the momentum,” says Dean of Medicine Peter F. Buckley, M.D. “The 1838 Campaign is our approach to helping talented and compassionate students fulfill their dream of becoming physicians — regardless of their families’ financial resources. We can’t do it alone.”