Dear Fellow USF Medicine Alumni,
Fifty years ago, my classmates and I took our first steps to becoming physicians at the USF College of Medicine. Being the inaugural class—huddling together on weekends in the anatomy lab and working late nights in the hospitals—are memories that decades later, we still have not forgotten. Whether you were with me in the Charter Class or graduated in the years to follow, we are united as alumni of a wonderful medical school. The Morsani College of Medicine continues to attract the best and brightest students and is an incredibly competitive program with an impressive new waterfront building in the downtown area. While many things have changed throughout the years of medical education and our profession in general, I hope that we share in one constant: pride for our alma mater.
What’s most important now, as we look back on the place that helped us build our careers and futures, is to remember what it was like to be a student. I don’t know about you, but I had to pay my way through medical school and took out loans to make it a reality. I worked hard, have enjoyed a successful career, and it has always been important to me to give back to those following in our footsteps, and will be joining our alumni family. No one knows the impact and importance of scholarship more than fellow physicians, and while I believe we should earn salaries like professional athletes, you know that we don’t, so for many of us it takes years and years to pay off education debt.
It’s my dream to see a day where our medical students enter the rigor of training without the additional stress of debt, or even more, the brightest students from the lowest incomes still believe medical school is a possibility because scholarships can make it affordable. My classmates and I have set a goal to endow our charter class fund to the level where we can support a student’s full-ride scholarship annually. We are not there yet, but I know we will get there, and this year I’ve invested $100,000 to get us closer. I know that’s not an investment level everyone can make today, but I hope you’ll think about the most meaningful gift you can make and do it. Collectively, all our class scholarships make a huge difference to the impending debt our students endure and create a culture of alumni support that I think we can all agree will be part of our greatest legacy.
I hope you will join me in contributing to your class scholarship, or any scholarship at the Morsani College of Medicine that may be meaningful to you. Together, we can help our students achieve their dreams of becoming proud USF physicians like you and me for the next 50 years and beyond.
All the best to you and yours for a healthy and joyful holiday season!
Best personal regards,
Stephen E. Vernon, MD, Class of ‘74