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UI College of Medicine/UIHC
UI Foundation News
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Release: Dec. 27, 2001

University of Iowa College of Medicine holds third annual scholarship awards luncheon

IOWA CITY, Iowa—The University of Iowa College of Medicine held its third annual scholarship awards luncheon recently to honor scholarship recipients and donors and to allow the two groups to meet each other.

Dr. Peter Densen, associate dean for student affairs and curriculum at the UI College of Medicine, said in his welcome address, “Our goal is to celebrate achievement among our students and to assure our donors we are providing good stewardship.” He added, “Medical school applications are declining nationwide, but ours at the UI are increasing. We’d like to think it’s because of the quality of our program and our increasingly good facilities.”

The UI College of Medicine has a $22 million fund-raising goal for student scholarships, said Densen, adding that the cost of a medical education has increased 70-fold over the past 50 years.

After graduation, nearly 90 percent of current students at the UI College of Medicine will each carry more than $50,000 in debt. Average debt for UI College of Medicine students is expected to increase to more than $116,000 in the next four years, despite the fact that the UI has one of the lowest in-state tuition rates in the Big Ten.

Dr. Robert Kelch, dean of the College of Medicine and vice president for statewide health services, said in his address, “[Our scholarship donors] are investing in the future of health care for the long term. Philanthropy is increasingly important to ensure the quality of our health care workforce.” Many more endowments for medical scholarships are needed to assist UI College of Medicine students, said Kelch.

Dr. M. Naser Payvandi, a cardiologist from Cedar Rapids who completed his clinical training at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in 1999, created an endowed medical scholarship with his wife, Catherine, to support immigrant students studying international issues in family medicine. The Naser and Catherine Payvandi Medical Scholarship “not only endorses the need for medical education support,” said Payvandi, “but it also affirms oneness and unity, and the need for doctors without borders in this particular time of international turbulence. Medical students need our support—costs are high, and funding is unpredictable.”

Craig Olson, a third-year medical student and a Beisner Scholar Award-winner, said at the luncheon, “The Beisner family believed in me enough to sponsor my learning. Other scholarship recipients have expressed to me the emotional support they feel as a results of their scholarships. It’s not just about help with expenses.” Olson continued, “Generosity begets generosity. I’ll provide for others when I have the means.” Donald H. Beisner and Judith A. Beisner of Springfield, Mo., gave $1.5 million in 1999 to the UI College of Medicine to create four medical student scholar awards, improve facilities and purchase medical equipment.

The UI Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the university. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to generate funds for scholarships, professorships, facilities improvements, equipment purchases, research and other UI initiatives. For more information about the UI Foundation, visit its web site at