A Vanderbilt University Medical Center Alumni Publication

Vanderbilt Medicine

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President's Letter

By Paul Sternberg, M.D.
July 2011

Dear Canby Robinson Society Members:

As donors, we support scholarship programs through renewable annual gifts that can be put to use right away.

The Canby Robinson Scholarship is the most distinguished of the School of Medicine scholarships and provides full tuition for four years of medical school. The Canby Robinson Society Board and the School of Medicine have a shared goal to attract a diverse group of exceptional students who will become future leaders and scholars in medicine. A committee of the Canby Robinson Society Board met in March to recommend the recipients of the Canby Robinson Scholarship, and because the applicants are so highly qualified, the group found the task of scholarship review to be very challenging.

At Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, we provide an innovative curriculum, a supportive environment designed to promote health and wellness in our students and wonderful research opportunities. Last year, we received more than 5,000 applications for just over 100 first-year spots. The average GPAs and MCAT scores of our applicants continue to rise. But we are in a tough competition with our peer institutions for the best and brightest students. In that race, we fall short in the scholarship arena.

For students, medical school is an expensive investment in the future. Right now, we can only meet about 22 percent of the financial need of our medical school students, and 71 percent of our students graduate with debt. The average debt load for our students after graduation is more than $126,000. Increased scholarship assistance would allow our students to choose a specialty based on their passion, not on its capacity to pay off their debt.

Praise and recognition are due to several standout champions for scholarships in our midst. Robert Collins, M.D., has dedicated many years of service on the Scholarship Steering Committee as have past presidents of the Canby Robinson Society, Judson Randolph, M.D., Robert McNeilly and Lonnie Burnett, M.D. We all are grateful to these devoted leaders who altered the landscape for scholarships. Bravo!

We can do more to help keep Vanderbilt within reach for top students by supporting scholarship efforts at the School of Medicine. Learn more by contacting Mary Beth Thompson at (615) 322-8846 or mary.beth.thompson@vanderbilt.edu.







Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D.
Canby Robinson Society president

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