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Associate Director of Development
UI College of Medicine/UIHC
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973

Release: Nov. 1, 1999

UI College of Medicine celebrates scholarship donors, recipients

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Medicine reports that its first-ever Scholarship Award Luncheon, held at the UI’s Levitt Center for University Advancement Oct. 15 successfully brought together scores of students and contributors to celebrate a shared interest in helping others.

Co-sponsored by the College of Medicine and the University of Iowa Foundation, the event was attended by 31 UI medical students who received privately funded scholarships for the 1999-2000 academic year and several contributors from around Iowa and the Midwest for whom the scholarships are named. Dr. Peter Densen, the college’s associate dean of student affairs and curriculum, said the event was the first of many planned for the future.

"It’s a time of celebration and a time of building a new ceremony that we hope will only grow over the years," Densen said.

Densen noted that the average debt incurred by a UI medical student is $70,000. This makes private giving more critical than ever, he emphasized, in offering the best possible opportunities for UI students to further their education and careers.

More than 40 contributors have responded to this need by creating endowed scholarship funds in the UI College of Medicine through gifts to the UI Foundation. The earnings from these funds provided nearly $530,000 in annual scholarships for the current academic year.

Sad Sayeed, a fourth-year medical student from Des Moines, paid tribute to the donors by noting that their compassionate giving in turn helps students become compassionate physicians.

"We share an indomitable desire to help others in need," Sayeed said of his fellow medical students. "For us, you are role models of the first sort. As benefactors, you’re doing much more than merely helping us pay off our debts -- you’re demonstrating the same altruistic spirit that fuels our desire to become compassionate care-givers."

College of Medicine Dean Robert Kelch, M.D. also hailed the contributors’ generosity by commenting on the future impact of their gifts.

"These benefactors are investing in the future, and they’re choosing to do so by investing in the education of outstanding students," Kelch said.

Scholarship contributors attending the luncheon included UI alumni Donald H. Beisner, M.D. and his wife Judith Ann Beisner of Springfield, Mo., who sponsor four scholarships per year; Thomas L. and Mary Cain of Burlington, sponsors of a scholarship each year in memory of their son, Thomas C. Cain; UI alumnus and College of Liberal Arts emeritus professor Richard G. Kessel of Iowa City; Emily Slemmons Spencer of Iowa City, whose family endows a scholarship in memory of her mother-in-law; and former UI professor Dr. Hamed Hassan Tewfik of Iowa City, sponsor of two annual scholarships with UI alumna and former professor Dr. Ferial Abbassy-Tewfik.

Melanie Bone, a second-year student from West Des Moines, noted that in addition to the financial assistance provided by the contributors’ generosity, there is another, less tangible benefit of being awarded a privately funded scholarship.

"This means so much more to me than just the monetary value," she said. "I was chosen because someone believed that I did belong here and had faith in me to succeed. This gives me a source of strength."

She said she hopes to repay that gift by working toward a better society through not only her work as a physician, but also by helping future medical students. "My goal as a recipient is to be a benefactor someday," said Bone.

The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel of support for private contributions to all areas of the University of Iowa. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to provide support for scholarships, professorships, facilities improvements, equipment purchases, research funds, and other support for the UI.