Rebecca Lee Crumpler Scholarship

In 1864, a 33-year-old woman named Rebecca Davis Lee (Crumpler) became the first Black American woman to earn a degree in medicine. The degree was awarded by the New England Female Medical College, a pioneering institution that a decade later merged with Boston University and formed the core of Boston University’s School of Medicine (BUSM).  She was able to study at the Female Medical College because of a scholarship.  Following her graduation, Rebecca worked with the Freedmen’s Bureau in Richmond, VA, created at the end of the Civil War to help recently freed enslaved people gain access to food, housing, and medical services. She returned to practice family medicine in Boston, and later published A Book of Medical Discourses. Although she encountered prejudice and hostility as a Black female doctor, she persisted, and discovered her life’s mission: combating illness in women and children.

We look forward to honoring the memory of Rebecca Crumpler with an endowed scholarship fund in her name, which will be awarded to students from underrepresented groups with a preference for a Black woman.

To support the Rebecca Lee Crumpler Scholarship Fund:

  1. Online: Please go to BUSM Development Giving Page to donate, select the Other Fund and indicate in the comments/notes section you’d like to support “Rebecca Lee Crumpler Scholarship Fund
  2. By check: Make payable to Trustees of Boston University, and in the memo on your check (or an accompanying note) list “Rebecca Lee Crumpler Scholarship Fund” to ensure your donation is deposited to the correct fund.  You can mail the check to the address below:

Boston University Gifts & Records
595 Commonwealth Ave., Suite 700, West Entrance
Boston, MA 02215

For any questions about donations, please contact

For more information on this initiative: Rebecca Lee Crumpler Scholarship