Building a New Legend

Elizabeth A. Dale, EdD, MPA

In their third volume on Jefferson’s history, the excellent Legend and Lore: Jefferson Medical College published in 1996, editors Frederick B. Wagner, Jr., MD ’41, and J. Woodrow Savacool, MD ’38, compile a treasure trove of alumni vignettes about student life.

Whenever the country was going through hard times, the stories show that alumni stepped up—through service, volunteerism, and philanthropy.

In one recollection, Joseph L. Finn, MD ’35, writes, “Economic clouds were very dark when the Class of 1935 began its student days. Real estate was almost worthless and bank failures were rampant. I was one of many across the country whose bank closed as I was preparing to pay my first tuition installment.” Finn highlights the transformative impact of alumni giving, noting that he was able to become part of Jefferson’s first residency program in 1937 because of a bequest given by alumnus and professor of obstetrics Pascal Brooke Bland, MD 1901.

In addition to a long and impactful career practicing medicine, Finn would go one to become a prolific Class Agent, rallying his fellow 1935 graduates to lead the way in alumni giving from 1950-1952.

Resiliency, generosity, and creativity have been hallmarks of Jefferson since its founding, and those traits are needed now more than ever as our students navigate the COVID and post-COVID world. That’s why, as part of the Reimagine Campaign, we launched the Reimagine Scholarship initiative to help our students through today’s “dark economic clouds.” The response from alumni has been nothing short of amazing.

So far just this academic year, we’ve raised nearly $2 million from 275 alumni for medical college scholarships, including creating nine new scholarships.

The stories behind alumni scholarship gifts are just as amazing. Suzanne Springer Zeok, MD ’69, and John V. Zeok, MD ’67, created the Springer-Zeok Scholarship in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary and the 50th anniversary of their graduations. “We thought there was no better way to honor the moment than to pay forward the support we received as students and residents to help future Jefferson physicians excel,” Suzanne remarked.

Through the Reimagine campaign, we hope to create 100 new endowed scholarships. If we can achieve that goal together, it surely will become the stuff of Jefferson legend and lore for future generations.

If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to help this effort, visit or reach out to me directly. I’d love to hear from you.

Elizabeth A. Dale, EdD, MPA
Executive Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer 
Office of Institutional Advancement


Please contact me if you’d like to learn more about the doors you can open and lives you can change. I’d love to hear from you.