Alumnus endows medical school scholarship program with estate gift

A physician who graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and his spouse are bequeathing their estate to the medical school, creating a new scholarship they hope will encourage future alumni to “pay it forward.”

The anonymous gift, valued at $12.3 million, will become the largest endowed scholarship fund at Pritzker. The gift comes as a result of the school’s Legacy Challenge, a campaign to increase student scholarships.

“This generous gift will ensure—in perpetuity—that bright, deserving students who want to pursue degrees in medicine will be able to do so regardless of their financial ability,” said Kenneth Polonsky, dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine. “It’s a testament to the donors’ deep connection to Pritzker and their desire that future generations of physicians are able to come here and thrive.”

The physician attended Pritzker thanks to financial aid provided by the school and arranged by the late Joseph Ceithaml, Pritzker’s dean of students from 1951 to 1986. Without the scholarship, he said he would have been unable to attend the renowned medical school.

“The donors feel privileged to be able to ‘pay it forward’ to a school that gave them so much,” said Holly Humphrey, Pritzker’s dean of medical education. “They hope this gift inspires current and future alumni to give back to Pritzker and ensure its legacy of medical education.”

Known as one of the country’s best training grounds for future physicians, Pritzker is among the nation’s top medical schools for both research and primary care. It’s the highest-ranking medical school for research in Illinois. A school with about 350 students, Pritzker places a strong emphasis on research and discovery while translating the most recent advances in biomedical science to the bedside.