A gift to expand accessibility to a Dartmouth medical education highlighted The Call to Lead celebration in Hanover Friday evening.
Speaking before nearly 400 alumni, faculty, staff, and students, President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 announced three gifts, totaling $5.5 million, from Jennifer and the late Peter Brock, longtime residents of the Upper Valley. Over several decades, the Brocks and their extended family have given to both the Geisel School of Medicine, creating the school’s largest scholarship endowment, which now totals $20 million, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock.
The family’s most recent gifts support MD scholarships, the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative and Hospice Care, and nursing education at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.
“These gifts build on a long history of generosity that began with Jen’s parents more than 70 years ago and now spans three generations of this remarkable family,” President Hanlon said. “We are so grateful to the Brocks and their extended family for their decades-long commitment to access for the most talented medical students and for their support of the special relationship between Geisel and Dartmouth-Hitchcock.”
Also at Friday’s celebration, Hanlon announced a gift from Merinda and Ben Wilson ’73 to jumpstart a fundraising initiative to expand and permanently endow the E.E. Just Program.
The Brock Family Gifts
Expanding financial aid across all five Dartmouth schools is a top priority of The Call to Lead campaign—with a total fundraising goal of $500 million. Providing additional scholarship support is particularly important at Geisel, where approximately 85 percent of all students must take out loans to meet their educational expenses. Geisel graduates in the Class of 2018 incurred an average educational debt of $184,000.
Nearly two-thirds of all medical students receive scholarship support, but the average scholarship award covers only 20 percent of their education costs.
“Scholarships are the single best way for Dartmouth to attract medical students who are academically gifted, highly compassionate, and committed to improving health systems and the communities they serve,” said Geisel’s Dean Duane Compton. “By reducing the debt burden of medical school, scholarships also give graduates who intend to practice medicine in underserved communities or lower-paying specialties the financial freedom to do so.”
The Brocks also continued their family’s support of compassionate care, with a $2 million gift to the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative and Hospice Care, which opened in 2017. The facility provides comprehensive care for life-limiting illnesses that is driven by the values and preferences of patients and their families, not medical interventions. The facility is more than an inpatient hospice facility. It also provides programs and services to support home hospice providers and lay caregivers, and for education and research focused on elevating care for life-limiting illnesses.
Young Alumni Creating Scholarships
Through the end of June, the classes of 2000 through 2019 are pushing to raise giving participation and provide scholarship support for undergraduates through the Dartmouth College Fund Challenge. For each of these classes reaching a 45 percent participation goal by June 30, the close of Dartmouth’s fiscal year, an anonymous donor will endow a $100,000 undergraduate scholarship fund in the class’s name.
“I’m pleased to report that today the Class of 2012 became the first to hit that participation threshold,” Board of Trustees Chair Laurel Richie ’81 announced Friday. That means there will be a permanent, endowed scholarship named in honor of the Class of 2012.
Graduate-Level Research for Undergraduates
Three pairings of young alumni and faculty at the campaign celebration highlighted examples of hands-on learning, including research involving undergraduates as active participants—all made possible by Dartmouth’s distinctive model of education.
Josh Lange ’17 shared how he conducted cancer research with Professor Yolanda Sanchez at a level that would be unimaginable for an undergraduate at most universities.
“I arrived at Dartmouth thinking I might want to do primary cancer research. I left Dartmouth sure of it, all because of this this incredible experience. The depth of what I gained in Dr. Sanchez’s lab enabled me to have my choice of graduate programs to attend, and I’m currently in the second year of my PhD at UC San Diego,” Lange said.
“I could only have done this work at Dartmouth, where there is this incredible emphasis on not just undergraduate learning in the classroom, but undergraduates conducting groundbreaking research in a wide variety of fields,” he said. “For an undergraduate to be given an independent project to drive forward themselves is an incredibly rewarding experience, and is really unique to Dartmouth.”
Celeste Jennings ’18 and Professor Monica Ndounou discussed Jennings’ experiences designing costumes for theatrical productions, writing her own play, and composing poetry. Sam Gochman ’18 and Professor Nathaniel Dominy shared some of their experiences from researching the evolution of primate sensory systems.
The Hanover campaign celebration was hosted by the Regional Campaign Committee of New England, led by Anne Craige McNay ’80 and Jonathan Paul ’86.