Scholarship donors, medical students and UNC School of Medicine leaders gathered recently during the Annual Spring Medical Alumni Weekend to celebrate the critical investment that scholarship donors are making in medical students – and the impact these students will have on patient care across our state and beyond.
Wesley Burks, MD, the School of Medicine’s dean and CEO, UNC Health, spoke at the 2023 Scholarship Brunch at Kenan Stadium’s Blue Zone, delivering a message of appreciation for donors and pride in medical students’ many accomplishments.
“As the parent of a School of Medicine alum, I know firsthand just how special it is to have these opportunities to celebrate the incredible work our students are doing,” Burks said. “Thank you for your investment in [North Carolina’s] future through your support of scholarships that ensure we are able to recruit the best and brightest students to UNC.”
Burks noted that he was especially proud that nearly half of UNC’s graduating medical students historically choose to remain in the state for residency and work.
Scholarships provide key resources and support to students, often allowing them to pursue unique training opportunities or choose a different professional path such as primary care, since scholarships can reduce the burden of debt. Many types of scholarships are supported within the School of Medicine, including “named” scholarships such as the Zollicoffer or Blanchard scholarships, program scholarships such as Carolina MED Excel program scholarships, along with Medical Alumni Loyalty Fund scholarships, and more.
In the most recent academic year, 392 students received $7,616,405 in scholarship awards. The total picture and tally of financial support grows even broader when department scholarships, other unique scholarships, and a variety of awards are factored in.
A highlight of the brunch was a Q&A led by Jennifer Wu, MD, MPH, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, featuring scholarship donor Lawrence (Lars) Nycum, MD ‘90 and a recent recipient of the scholarship funded by the Nycums, Casey Hribar, MD ’23. Nycum and his wife Lynn established the Dr. Lawrence Nycum, MD ’90 and Mrs. Lynn Nycum Loyalty Fund Scholarship to benefit students like Hribar, who was able to pursue an MBA at UNC, along with her MD degree, as a recipient of the Nycum Loyalty Fund Scholarship.
“The scholarship allowed me to do so many different things within the School of Medicine,” said Hribar. “And at the business school I was able to take classes that will essentially set me up well in practice, whether it’s running my own practice or being a part of a larger practice.” Hribar credits the Nycum Scholarship with providing the financial support and incentive needed to pursue her MBA, training she sees as critical to her future success as a practicing physician.
Nycum told the story of how he and his wife Lynn decided to fund their scholarship. As he transitioned out of clinical medicine into senior administrative and leadership roles, Nycum realized that business and leadership training would benefit this stage of his career. He went back to school at the age of 50 to earn an MBA.
This experience helped Nycum realize that more medical students might also want to enhance their business and leadership skills, and that a scholarship at UNC could help make this possible. “So my wife and I talked about it. We said ‘yeah, we would like to do this – we want to be that pebble in the pond, with the ripple effect that goes on for years.’”
Sharing the brunch spotlight with Hribar, whose scholarship lets her leave UNC with both excellent medical and business training, well prepared for whatever the future brings, Nycum said: “You’re looking at the ripple.”
Scholarships make amazing opportunities possible for our UNC medical students. To learn more, contact UNC Health Foundation Senior Director for Development, Jeanine Simmons at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-843-0846.