Scholarship recipients give thanks for alumni support

During this season of thanks, and in honor of National Philanthropy Day (officially celebrated on Nov. 15), Penn State College of Medicine recognizes a group of individuals who have affected the institution in countless ways—our alumni.

Since the first medical class graduated from the College of Medicine in 1971, alumni have been making important contributions to advance scientific inquiry and shape the practice of healthcare. They have:

Pioneered advances in artificial heart technology, cancer care and treatment, primary care practice, pediatric cardiac care and neonatology;

Practiced medicine in rural communities, major metropolitan areas and developing nations around the world; and

Published their research in the most prestigious scientific journals and have been recognized among the Best Doctors in America.

However, our distinguished alumni do not just pay it forward for the communities they serve, they also give back to inspire, mentor and support current students—learners who want to follow in their predecessors’ footsteps but also forge their own unique paths.

Penn State College of Medicine received more than 8,800 applications for this year’s incoming medical class (for 145 total spots) from a nationwide pool of nearly 49,000. This means that approximately one out of six applicants to medical school applies to Penn State. We are proud to have such a dynamic learning community, which includes nearly 900 of the most promising medical and graduate students and physician assistant trainees.

For more than 20 years, alumni have given generously to establish class scholarships and awards that alleviate some of the financial burden for these students. The College of Medicine currently has 31 active alumni scholarship endowments that yield more than $130,000 annually. This fall, a total of 90 alumni scholarships were awarded.

The diverse group of recipients comes from local communities, neighboring states and distant countries. Some are proud to enroll at their parent’s alma mater, while others are the first in their family to go to college or pursue an advanced degree. Whatever their background, these students are grateful for the support they’ve received from people who know and appreciate the College of Medicine experience.

To join alumni in supporting student scholarships at Penn State College of Medicine, visit

In the words of our recipients:

Jordan Gaines Lewis, 4th Year Graduate Student, Neuroscience
Class of 1971 Scholarship
“The support from generous alumni donors will be extraordinarily helpful in funding me and my research as a student so that I can continue to conduct my work, perform lab tests, write papers, and publish my findings without the financial strain that is all too common in the scientific climate today.” (Jordan is studying the association between sleep and obesity in central Pennsylvanian adolescents.)

Timothy Brown, MS4
Class of 1979 Scholarship
“Thank you so much for your support. This scholarship has allowed me to continue to pursue my dream of internal medicine and hematology/oncology and has allowed me to decrease the financial impact of this final year of medical school.”

Holly Boyle, MS3
Class of 1985 Scholarship
“I feel so honored and grateful to have received this scholarship, which has helped me focus on the beginning of my clinical years, without having to think about my finances. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness!”

Stefani Schwartz, MS2
Class of 1989 Scholarship
“Penn State has fostered within me the practice of being an advocate for my patients. Regardless of the field that I choose as my final career, I know that, whenever possible, I will develop strong relationships with my patients, acknowledge all facets of their health and wellbeing, and work not just for them, but with them toward their betterment.”

Ritesh Patel, MS2
Class of 1995 Scholarship
“I am honored and humbled to be awarded this scholarship. Growing up as a first generation student in Iselin, NJ, my family and I faced many struggles. Yet, it was these struggles that helped to form my ever-growing passion, persistent work ethic, and unfaltering drive to help others. Overcoming these struggles would not have been possible without the help of people like you.

Knowing that there are others who believe in me and care for my success continues to motivate me to follow my passion. Becoming a doctor has always been a dream of mine. I want to thank you once again for your kind and generous donation in helping move this dream one step closer to a reality!”

If you're having trouble accessing this content, or would like it in another format, please email the Penn State College of Medicine web department.