A supplement to the Mission magazine highlighting advancements at the The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the heroes who help make them happen.
Vanguard - UT Health Science Center San Antonio
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In This Issue Search Vanguard


Health Science Center staff member
creates endowment
Dorothy Fowler Schmidt
Dorothy Schmidt

Dorothy Fowler Schmidt wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She didn’t inherit millions, nor did she win the lottery. Yet, this year, Schmidt, an employee of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, pledged 90 percent of her remaining estate to the Health Science Center to establish the Dorothy Fowler Schmidt Endowment for Medical Scholarships in the School of Medicine.

The endowment will provide scholarships for up to four deserving students a year who will pursue medical oncology research with the goal of advancing early diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

“This endowment will provide an education for students whose families cannot afford to send them to college,” Schmidt said. “It was created out of gratitude to three generations of my family who preserved a legacy of education and hard work, as well as my desire to help the ‘children’ I never had.”

Through perseverance and self-discipline, Schmidt saved her earnings and carefully planned her finances so that she would be able to make the endowment a reality. She credits her family for teaching her the value of saving and giving back to the community.

Schmidt is a descendant of a long line of hard workers. Among them was her great-grandmother on her father’s side of the family. Lucy Wallace Fowler, a homesteader in Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming, was a single mother who raised her only son on her ranch property in Powell, Wyo., in the early 1900s.


For more information about how to create an endowment or make a planned or annual gift at the Health Science Center, visit www.uthscsa.edu/development or call (210) 567-6395.
Education was also a family tradition. In 1884 her great-grandmother on her mother’s side of the family, Laura Adella Holbrook, graduated from Oberlin Music College, which, today, continues to be one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the United States. Her great-grandfather, George Preston Rogers, graduated from the University of Michigan that same year and later became a pharmacist. Although neither of Schmidt’s parents had the opportunity to finish college, they instilled in Dorothy, and her sister, the importance of education, hard work, making purchases with cash not credit, and saving and living within their means.

“We had the best of everything, yet life was simple, down to earth and not extravagant,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt graduated from California State University, Chico in 1974 and had successful careers at several nonprofit agencies prior to working at the UT Health Science Center. She joined the university’s Office of Development in 2007 as a manager of development communications and grants. It was here that Schmidt read letters from student scholarship recipients. “I’m always impressed by how outstanding and responsible these students are, and am touched by their gratitude,” she said. Schmidt said she was also impressed by how well the Health Science Center manages endowed gifts. “The system is well organized and carefully administered. Donors can trust that their gifts are processed efficiently and effectively.”

In November 2008, Schmidt decided to create her own endowment at the Health Science Center. That same month, her husband, Gerry, was suddenly diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. “We were devastated. My husband was the picture of health.” Schmidt said. At 59, Gerry was a marathon runner, bicyclist and mountain climber. He’d rarely been ill. Unfortunately, colon cancer was a hereditary illness in his family.

The Schmidts immediately turned to physicians at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. “They’re outstanding and doing wonders for Gerry,” Schmidt said. “Gerry’s diagnosis and the excellent treatment he is receiving only reinforced my desire to create an endowment for medical education at the Health Science Center.”

Schmidt said an endowment was her way of touching generations and ensuring the education of future physicians and researchers. “These students will graduate and provide much-needed expertise to patients just like my husband,” she said.

Schmidt said she knows her ancestors would be proud of her contribution. “I’m proud and excited that I’m able to make this gift, and I know my husband and family are too. Some of Schmidt’s co-workers have since decided to create endowments at the Health Science Center. “I hope my gift inspires others so that giving back to the community and investing in the future of excellence in health care becomes a tradition within and beyond the walls of our university.”

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