The 1824 charter for our medical college states that “10 indigent young men of talents … shall be annually received into the medical school — receive its instructions and be entitled to its honours without any charge.” In those days, 10 students amounted to nearly half the class, if not more. Later, the 1832 Annual Announcement of Lectures by the Trustees and Professors continued to express concern about the importance of financial aid. Some students, it noted, “having commenced the study of medicine, are, from the misfortunes of their families and their restricted pecuniary means, unable to purchase the necessary tickets to enable them to acquire a thorough knowledge of their profession and to graduate.” The students were called “gratuitous students,” those who received a Jefferson education — “a thorough knowledge of their profession” — through the graciousness and generosity of others.
From its founding, our medical college has recognized the need for financial assistance to students “of talents.” That philanthropic tradition has carried on to this day, especially through the gift of endowed scholarships.
The importance of scholarships cannot be overstated — for Jefferson, for our students and for the well-being of our society. Our medical college is one of the oldest in the nation, with a long and distinguished legacy of educating pioneers in patient care and pathbreakers in biomedical research. Scholarships provide much-needed resources to students who aspire to be healers and enable Jefferson to prepare future generations of physicians unencumbered by the burden of excessive debt, hence free to pursue their dreams. They also help us attract bright, diverse and engaged students who enrich the educational experience for their classmates.
Alumni of Sidney Kimmel Medical College have long given back by endowing scholarships so that new generations can benefit, as they did, from a Jefferson education. Right now is the perfect opportunity to double the impact of your generosity and broaden the reach of your vision. The Kimmel Matching Program for Endowed Scholarships will match, dollar-for-dollar, pledges of $100,000 or more to establish a new endowed scholarship fund. This special match is available until June 30, 2016, or until the pool of matching funds is depleted.
Go ahead: seize the moment; change a life; open a door. The young doctor who walks through just might discover an amazing cure or transform the future of healthcare or simply be a terrific physician “of talents.” And who knows how much suffering you will ease or how many lives you will save just by making a scholarship gift — and by doing so, helping to make a Jefferson physician.
Elizabeth A. Dale, EdD
Executive Vice President