Alumni Tuition Free Program
In 2006, Dr. Robert and Lillian Brent made a $1 million cash gift to support an innovative medical student scholarship endowment fund that incorporates self-perpetuation with an integrated multiplier effect. The basic idea is that income from the endowment would not be initially spent on scholarship aid, but would create every year in perpetuity a scholarship for the incoming class's name. This class scholarship would continue to grow with the help of the endowment and by personal contributions from class members over time.
The Brents' vision is that accumulated amounts contained in each class gift fund would support a full scholarship for a student, and as successive classes reach this goal, tuition for the medical school would be completely endowed.
The vision will be supported by other important elements. First, the School will seek to increase the initial corpus of the Alumni Tuition Free Program from $1 million to $3 million with Dr. Brent serving in the role of volunteer, communicating this message to alumni and friends of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. We seek 200 alumni and friends to each contribute $10,000 to the Alumni Tuition Free Program, providing an additional $2 million.
It is our hope, and that of the Brents, that the successive classes who receive their "class scholarship" (which when the fund reaches $3 million will be $165,000) will use it as an impetus toward the vision of a tuition free medical school. As Dr. Brent has often said, "giving back; it is an obligation that follows the Hippocratic Oath which holds that we are all brothers and sisters and are obligated to help one another."
The burden of debt is a major issue for medical students. 92 percent of the medical students in the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s Class of 2012, for example, borrowed money to attend the School. Their average debt at graduation was $136,707. The School’s ability to attract the best and brightest students is enhanced by offering competitive financial assistance.
While the scholarships currently available to students have an immediate impact on alleviating their economic burden, the fund established by the Brents’ gift calls for a novel reinvestment strategy that will help to ensure that adequate scholarship assistance is available for future medical students. The income generated by the principal in the main fund will be allocated to a starting scholarship fund for each medical school class in their first year. The gift would become part of the endowment of the University and be invested. Each class then also would donate to the fund, thereby increasing its value. The money in the main fund would be retained to support successive class funds.
Annually, our white coat ceremony that welcomes new medical students into the profession of medicine is called the "Dr. Robert L. and Lillian H. Brent White Coat Ceremony", in honor of Dr. Robert and Lillian Brent, who have given so much to support our students. As alumni of the College (Bob and Lillian both) and Bob as an alumnus of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, they have committed not only their substantial financial support to alumni affairs and innovative student scholarship programs, but their time and energy as well.
For more information please contact Mary Ann King at (585) 273-2827.