The Power of Scholarships
Gratitude, excitement and anticipation – these three words describe the 2015 BUSM Scholarship Dinner on Thursday, Sept. 24.
In a candle-lit room at the Hotel Commonwealth in Boston, 18 medical students gathered together to meet – for the first time – their scholarship donors.
“Today is really important,” said Nick Smith, BUSM Class of 2016. “Getting to meet the face behind who’s doing this for me – it’s really special.”
To his surprise, Smith’s donor was Aram Chobanian, MD, President Emeritus, Boston University and Dean Emeritus of the School of Medicine.
“It’s terrific,” said Smith. “The weight that I’ll have in terms of debt going forward is that much less. Every little bit counts.”
Thanks to scholarships established by generous donors, every year students who otherwise could not afford a BUSM education can pursue their dream of becoming a physician.
According to Emir Morais, co-interim director of BUSM’s Student Financial Services, the cost of medical education presents a high barrier for many applicants – and a significant burden for many graduates. In fact, the Association of American Medical Colleges reports that 79 percent of medical students have debt of $100,000 or more after medical school.
“Scholarships help relieve some of the financial burden put on these students during and after their medical education,” said Morais. “These funds support their education and their intellectual, professional and personal development. It gives them the opportunity to attend a medical school that fits their passions and a chance to choose a field they care about.”
Over dinner and dessert, the students and donors were greeted by Dean Karen Antman, MD, who introduced Karanda Bowman, Class of 2016, and Adam Johnson, Class of 2017. Both students spoke about how their scholarships were a critical component in attending medical school.
“You haven’t just given me a gift,” said Johnson. “You’ve given my family a little more hope that everything really will be alright.”
As the students parted ways with their donors, handshakes and hugs were exchanged. Pleasantries and advice about medical school filled the room. But as this writer will attest, two common, contagious sentiments elevated this event – honor and gratefulness.
“We have to give kids the opportunity to be able to go to medical school without worrying about huge debts,” said Elaine Kirshenbaum, a BU donor since 1983. “It’s an honor to be able to support them.”
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