New Family Ties
"Adopt a Doc" scholarship program connects alumni with medical students.
Virginia pediatrician Russell Libby, MD '79, and "Adopt a Doc" scholarship recipient Allison Hoff. A new program through the School of Medicine and Health Sciences allows alumni to support an incoming medical student's education through a minimum gift of $20,000 over four years.
Allison Hoff had nearly exhausted her five minutes at an Internet café when the email arrived. "Congratulations!" it read. "Based on your exemplary record, the Committee on Admissions is pleased to offer you a School of Medicine Scholarship."
Ms. Hoff, a former Peace Corps volunteer, had never even heard of—let alone applied for—the scholarship she received. No one had. But with that email, Ms. Hoff effectively became GW's first recipient of an "Adopt a Doc" scholarship, a new program through which School of Medicine and Health Sciences alumni can support an incoming medical student's education with a minimum gift of $20,000 over four years.
"I was shocked," says Ms. Hoff, who was attending a wedding in Greece before moving from California to Washington, D.C., to begin life as a GW medical student. To whom did Ms. Hoff owe thanks for the generous surprise? Most directly, Russell Libby, MD '79, a Virginia pediatrician who established the fund. Indirectly, Ms. Hoff owed Leona Libby Feldman, Dr. Libby's mother and the scholarship's inspiration.
"The Leona Libby Feldman Medical Student Scholarship was created by her children, husband, and extended family as an enduring candle of remembrance for a remarkable woman," wrote Dr. Libby in a biographical essay about his mother. "She lived a full and creative life, with love, goodness, intelligence, wisdom, charity, and grace…Leona would take great pride in knowing that her memory is invested in helping a student achieve the lofty goal of developing their skills to help others."
Dr. Libby, a longtime donor to SMHS, says he wanted to find a more tangible way to contribute to the school. A couple of years after his mother's death, "the time was right to create something like this [scholarship] to conceptualize who she was in a concise and meaningful way," he says. "I feel good knowing that the contribution has a name and a face and is someone for whom I can potentially act as a mentor."
For Ms. Hoff, who chose to attend SMHS for its commitment to patient care and the chance to pursue a track in global health, the gift is more than its monetary value. "It feels really good to be supported by an entire family in memory of an extraordinary woman," she says. "It really feels like I am being adopted!" Ms. Hoff met the Libby family just one day after her arrival in Washington, D.C.
The budding relationship between Ms. Hoff and the Libby family will hopefully be the first of many inspired by the "Adopt a Doc" program, says Dr. Libby, who was recognized for his contribution at this year's White Coat ceremony. So far, another gift of $20,000 has been pledged to a future SMHS student in memory of a classmate, and several additional alumni have inquired about similar "adoptions."
"Being a physician has been a huge privilege," says Dr. Libby, who was recently named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the 10 best pediatricians within 25 miles of Washington, D.C. "I am grateful for my roots at GW, and I feel it is my duty to support those who come after me. I hope that people will look at this concept as a way to feel connected to their contribution and to give back in a way that is meaningful to them."
To learn more about "Adopt a Doc" contact Lynn Rozental, director of medicar school development, at 202-994-4056.
University Achieves New Heights in Philanthropic Giving
GW alumni, parents, and friends contributed more than $113.5 million to the university in fiscal year 2011, GW's most successful fundraising year to date. This total represents a 21 percent increase compared to the previous fiscal year, with the total number of donors increasing by more than 8 percent.
GW's record-setting growth of 21 percent surpassed the 10 or 15 percent increase that Michael Morsberger, vice president for development and alumni relations, had anticipated for the year.
"This has been an incredibly exciting year," Mr. Morsberger says. "This demonstrates the overwhelming support of our community for this great university. We've said all along that there is something special happening at GW and clearly our donors want to be a part of it."
More than $18 million in gifts were designated to the Power & Promise fund, which provides need- and merit-based scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students. Power & Promise gifts increased 23 percent compared to last year.
Major gifts for the year included $8 million from A. James Clark to fund an engineering scholarship program in his name and $5 million from real estate developer and philanthropist Albert Small to support the construction and renovation of a museum on campus. Mr. Small also donated his collection of local archives—containing historical documents, letters, rare books, maps, drawings, prints, and photographs—to GW.
The university saw a record level of participation in senior class gift giving this year. Almost 43 percent of the senior class—a 5 percent increase compared to last year—participated and helped raise more than $90,000, which includes matching gifts from the Luther Rice Society Advisory Council and GW trustees.
In 2011, the university celebrated the completion of the $10 million challenge gift from the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation, the Charles E. Smith Family Foundation, and Robert P. and Arlene R. Kogod to support the transformation of the Charles E. Smith Center. The gift challenged the university to raise $10 million, which would then be matched dollar for dollar. The challenge was met, and the resulting total of $21 million is the most ever raised for a single project at GW. Fundraising for the Charles E. Smith Center continues.
New Gifts: Philanthropy Reaches Across GW
Several recent gifts are supporting a number of areas of the university. Among them:
• Professor Emeritus Richard Schlagel and his wife, Jody Schlagel, BA '61, MA '70, have expanded their original bequest intention, which will now total $2.5 million, to establish The Josephine and Richard Schlagel Endowed Scholarship Fund in the Department of Philosophy. Professor Schlagel began teaching philosophy at GW in 1956, served as chair of the department in the 1960s, and was named the GW Elton Professor of Philosophy in 1986.
• William B. Oakley, MS '71, has made two planned giving commitments totaling $875,000. The first commitment for $500,000 will endow the William B. Oakley Endowed Professorial Fellowship in the School of Business for the research and teaching of faculty members with preference to professors in the Department of Information Systems and Technology Management. The second commitment, for $375,000, will endow the William B. Oakley Business Scholarship Fund, which will support students in the area of information systems and technology management.
• Dr. Cynthia B. Stevens, RESD '89, has made a pledge of $500,000, which will establish an endowed fund for psychiatry in her name. The fund will provide money to defray the cost of personal psychotherapy or analysis, or psychoanalytic training for psychiatry residents.
• Thomas J. Doherty, BS '89, of New York has made a $100,000 pledge to establish a named endowed scholarship for undergraduate study at the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
• Ibrahim A. Ashie, BS '70, MS '73, of Conway, S.C., has made a $100,000 pledge to the Shao Wen Yuan Mechanical Engineering Memorial Scholarship.
• Michael Goodman, BBA '83 and GW parent, has made a $100,000 pledge to support the Dr. Harris and Naomi Goodman Yellow Ribbon Scholarship Fund. The endowed fund honors Mr. Goodman's parents and will provide need-based scholarship aid to an undergraduate student-veteran under the Yellow Ribbon Program, a joint program of the university and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
• The GW School of Nursing received its first significant planned gift. Annetta T. Weiss, BA '65, of Fairfax, Va., will leave her entire estate, estimated at $600,000, to the new school. The bequest will establish two endowment funds—one will provide student aid for graduate students and the other is designated for the Dean's Discretionary Fund. A celebratory signing ceremony took place in August.
Other Gifts and Pledges
• Jim Quigley, BA '82, and his wife, Jacqueline, have made a $100,000 pledge to the Elliott School of International Affairs Dean's Fund. Mr. Quigley is executive vice chairman for International Corporate & Investment Banking at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.
• The Andean Development Bank (Corporación Andina de Fomento) headquartered in Caracas, Venezuela, has pledged $258,000 to the Political Management and Governance Program in the Graduate School of Political Management. The program provides leadership training across Latin America, focused on supporting democracy and human and economic rights. Since 1999, the bank has contributed more than $2 million to the program.
• First Solar has made its final payment of $125,000 on its $500,000 pledge to fund the GW Solar Institute. First Solar manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology and provides comprehensive PV system solutions.
• Protea Biosciences Inc. of Morgantown, W.Va., has renewed its pledge of $135,000 to support the cutting-edge research of Dr. Akos Vertes at GW's Institute for Proteomics Technology and Applications. In addition to the research funds, Protea Biosciences will also make a gift of $105,000 for the purchase of laboratory equipment.
• Dr. Mary Anne Frey, BA '70, PhD '75, has made a $100,000 planned giving commitment to the Francis E. Walker Fund for Women in Physics. The fund honors her mother, Francis E. Walker.