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From beneficiary to benefactor

Ophthalmologist Richard L. Lindstrom, M.D., and his wife, Jacalyn, are giving back in gratitude for the support Richard received as a medical student.

Couple’s gifts boost scholarships, ophthalmology, and personal satisfaction

Twin Cities ophthalmologist Richard L. Lindstrom, M.D., has many fond memories of campus life as a University of Minnesota medical student, including his fraternity involvement and season tickets to Gopher football games. But most memorable and inspiring, he says, was the support he received from others.

The Class of 1972 alumnus names as great mentors four former deans: N. L. “Neal” Gault Jr., M.D., Robert Howard, M.D., Ph.D., H. Mead Cavert, M.D., Ph.D., and W. Albert Sullivan Jr., M.D. “The deans provided personalized and compassionate guidance,” says Lindstrom. “They served as wonderful role models. They took time for me.”

Financial support from the Minnesota Medical Foundation (MMF) was critical to his medical school years as well. “It helped me get through,” says Lindstrom, a professor emeritus in the University’s Department of Ophthalmology.

In gratitude for that support, Lindstrom and his wife, Jacalyn, have been giving back to the Medical School for more than 20 years, establishing a research fellowship that’s still in use today and funding two postdoctoral fellowships in ophthalmology.

This spring, they made MMF a beneficiary of their trust, which will result in a $2 million gift to establish the Richard L. Lindstrom Research Chair in Ophthalmology. The couple also made a four-year, $30,000 pledge to the Dean’s Scholars Society, which provides scholarships aimed at keeping top medical student prospects in Minnesota. Their recent pledge renews an original commitment they made as founders of the Dean’s Scholars Society in 2004.

“For me it is a little bit of a payback,” Richard Lindstrom says of the couple’s contributions. “I appreciate the gift that I had been given through the University of Minnesota.”

Lindstrom says that he wants current students to have the best experience possible in medical school. “The only way we can retain the highest quality research and education is through philanthropy,” he explains.

Lindstrom also believes that goal is crucial to everyone, because most health care professionals in the state are trained at the University. “Your family’s future health depends on it,” he says, adding, “The University of Minnesota is the biggest engine for prosperity we have in the state. The University makes Minnesota a better place to live.”

Besides, Lindstrom says, giving back to the University simply makes him feel good.

“If you want to have a fuller and more joyous life, find something and someone else to give to,” he advises.

By Robyn White

For more information, contact Teri McIntyre at 612-625-5976 or Visit for ways to give.

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