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Giving to medicine and health at the University of Minnesota

Now that's commitment

In addition to time and energy, some faculty members give their own money

Our faculty members commit most of their lives to their professions, continually devising new ways to take their efforts that little bit farther. Some members of the Medical School and School of Public Health faculty have taken their commitment to the next level. Besides giving so much time and energy to their work, they’re also giving their own hard-earned money. Here are the reasons a few of them feel compelled to give.

Jonathan Ravdin, M.D.

Nesbitt Professor and chair, Department of Medicine

Jonathan Ravdin, M.D., recently celebrated his 10th anniversary as chair of the Medical School’s Department of Medicine. Marcie Christensen Ravdin, his wife, has spent 12 years at the University of Minnesota in administration for the Department of Medicine and the Medical School as a whole.

Their connections to medicine at the University run long and deep. That’s why the Ravdins decided to set aside $1 million in their estate for an endowed professorship for resident education in the Dept. of Medicine.

“Both Marcie and I felt it was really important to leave a legacy after we’re no longer here at the University,” says Jonathan Ravdin. “With this professorship, we can be part of the Department of Medicine in perpetuity.”

The Ravdins hold high the value of resident education, he says, and as a department chair, he knows it’s not always easy to raise philanthropic dollars for this area.

With the gift of this future professorship, which will be named the Jonathan I. Ravdin and Marcie Christensen Ravdin Professorship in Medical Resident Education, Jonathan Ravdin says he hopes to inspire other faculty members to support an area that’s important to them, too.

“The University and the state of Minnesota have given us a great deal of support, and now we are in a position to give something back,” he says.

John R. Finnegan Jr., Ph.D.

Professor and dean, School of Public Health

As the newly named dean of the School of Public Health, John Finnegan Jr., Ph.D., says getting more support for student scholarships is high on his priority list. So to start his official deanship out right, he and his wife, Jan, decided to endow a scholarship themselves.

The Finnegans made a $25,000 cash gift to establish a fellowship in hopes of recruiting the most promising students to any of the School of Public Health’s five graduate programs.

“The exciting prospect is that this fellowship may support some students who go on to make new and significant contributions to the progress of public health,” John Finnegan says. “I guess you would call that paying it forward.”

The Finnegans named their fund the Finnegan-Mosberger Family Endowed Fellowship in honor of their extended families.

“Jan and I were raised in families that value learning, community involvement, and giving back to the communities that have given us so much over the years,” John Finnegan says. “The idea that we could help students pursue their dreams of graduate education in public health was a visible way to honor our families for instilling those values in us.”

Over time, John and Jan Finnegan hope that the fellowship will inspire their family members to give to the fund as their resources permit. It must be working: Dean Finnegan’s parents have already made a contribution to keep the fellowship fund growing.

Warren Warwick, M.D.

Professor and founder, Minnesota Cystic Fibrosis Center, Department of Pediatrics

When Warren Warwick was a medical student, money was tight. Warwick spent his nights working as a nurse and a lab assistant to pay for his schooling while supporting his young family.

He had always wanted to earn a Ph.D. in a basic science in addition to his medical degree, but there never seemed to be enough time or money to do it.

Now Warwick and his wife, Henrietta, hope they can help a few students in the next generation of doctors to pursue that dream. With a $500,000 gift for the Dr. Warren J. and Henrietta Holm Warwick Resident Award, they will provide funding for a medical resident or fellow who wants to pursue a Ph.D. in a basic science. The award will fund tuition and research costs along with a stipend for living expenses. The first Warwick award is expected to be given in 2007.

“This scholarship is for a physician in specialty training who needs and wants the additional scientific skills that come with a Ph.D. in a basic science,” says Warwick, 77, a worldrenowned expert in cystic fibrosis who remains active in his research and clinics. “The best time for the integration of basic and clinical science is during a residency or fellowship, when the crests of knowledge for both studies can be focused simultaneously on the same problems.”

Warwick says the inspiration for the award came from his mentor, Robert A. Good, M.D., Ph.D., who performed the world’s first successful bone marrow transplant at the University of Minnesota in 1968. The Warwicks say they’re very grateful for Good: He hired Warwick to work in his laboratory while he was in medical school, arranged for Warwick’s fellowship in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, and set up his faculty position after he finished his two-year duty in the army.

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