Faculty, staff and students gathered this spring on The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio campus to recognize the generosity of donors who are furthering the university’s education mission through their gifts of endowed scholarships. William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, Health Science Center president, and his wife, Mary, hosted the event.
“Mary and I are honored to pay tribute to our many scholarship donors. We are humbled by their generosity and inspired by their tremendous leadership,” Dr. Henrich said. “Because of their continued support, many deserving students will be able to complete their education toward becoming future physicians, dentists, nurses, biomedical scientists and other health care professionals.”
Each year, donors provide 920 scholarships for outstanding students
at the Health Science Center. This year, 110 of those are endowed scholarships.
Dr. Henrich emphasized the importance of endowments, especially during challenging economic times.
“An endowment is a permanent gift that provides one of the most secure sources of future revenue for the research, education, patient care and community service missions of our Health Science Center,” he said. “Endowments in the form of scholarships benefit students, many of whom would not have the opportunity to complete their degrees if it were not for the generosity of our donors. They are, indeed, making lives better for our students and for the patients of these future health care providers.”
Beverly and Will O’Hara were the event’s keynote speakers. Last year, the Austin couple made a multimillion-dollar planned gift to the Health Science Center in the form of endowments to support faculty recruitment in the School of Medicine, endowments to support cardiology research and endowments to support student scholarships. Mr. O’Hara, a faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin, explained why funding scholarships was an important part of their planned gift.
“One of the greatest joys in our lives is to be able to make a difference in students’ lives,” he said. “I teach my students about the importance of giving back whenever possible. I tell them to pay it forward because, for a lot of kids in need, a scholarship is life altering.”
For more than a decade, students in the Dental Hygiene program in the School of Health Professions have benefited from the Frances P. Plunkett Scholarship Fund. Patricia Palmer-Hartley established the endowment in 1999 in honor of her daughter, Frances Palmer Plunkett, a San Antonio dental hygienist and former Health Science Center faculty member. Since then, 17 students have benefited from the award. This year Palmer-Hartley made an additional gift of $5,000 to enhance her endowed scholarship.
Heather Dawn Mitchell, a senior-level student in the Dental Hygiene program, was this year’s Plunkett Scholarship recipient.
“The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was learning how to be a single mother and a student at the same time. But with great support systems and financial aid through the Plunkett Scholarship, I’ve found that balance,” Mitchell said. “The scholarship has paid for my tuition and will allow me to decrease the amount of school loans I will owe. I know I can complete my education at this outstanding institution, find a good job after I graduate and provide for my son. Thank you, Mrs. Palmer-Hartley, for believing in me and supporting me!”
Scholarships may be in the form of endowed gifts, annual gifts or multiyear pledges. Scholarship endowments begin at $10,000.
For more information about scholarship giving opportunities at the UT Health Science Center, contact Chris Craig in the Development Office at (210) 567-2582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.