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A passion for public health

Former School of Public Health professor and dean Lee Stauffer, M.P.H., has always shared his passion for public health. During his 36 years on the faculty—12 of them as dean—he often told his students, “You’ve selected a noble profession. You’re going to help people for the rest of your lives.”

Following his retirement from the school in 1991, Stauffer and his late wife, Donna, found another way to share that passion by making a gift to the school that was used to establish the Lee and Donna Stauffer Scholarship.

Lee Stauffer has continued to support the scholarship and in November 2005, he contributed $25,000 to the fund. That gift was eligible for a University of Minnesota President’s Scholarship Match, which will double the scholarship’s impact.

With the Stauffers’ contributions and gifts from another 137 donors, the fund has provided scholarships for 11 talented SPH students, including Dawn Sillars and John Amuasi, M.D., the 2005 and 2006 Stauffer scholars.

Sillars, a first-generation college student from Wausau, Wisconsin, who is paying for her own education, calls the Stauffer scholarship “an absolute blessing.” After she completes her master of public health degree, Sillars hopes to help increase vulnerable individuals’ access to health care and to develop legislative policies that encourage healthy behavioral choices.

She’d also like to one day support public health scholarships. “I would like to be financially secure enough to be able to give back,” Sillars says.

The Stauffer scholarship is bringing John Amuasi, M.D., closer to fulfilling his dreams. A first-year SPH graduate student from Ghana, West Africa, Amuasi says the Stauffer scholarship made it possible for him to enroll in the public health administration and policy program.

“Without the Stauffer scholarship, I would not have been able to pursue my endeavors,” Amuasi says. “In fact, I had deferred courses until next year in hopes of securing funding. The Stauffer scholarship has made a big difference.”

Amuasi—already a practicing physician in Ghana—hopes to use his public health training to help solve health and economic problems in developing countries. He also dreams of running his own foundation to address the health and nutritional needs of children and young adults in Africa.

Thanks to the Stauffer scholarship, Sillars and Amuasi are on track to help others for the rest of their lives, and the fund is sure to help many other public health students do the same.

And that’s as Stauffer intended. “Federal funding is disappearing. If we want really good people in public health, we’re going to have to offer them some incentive to come to school and to devote themselves to the field,” he says. “Although many fields pay more than public health, I doubt if there are very many more satisfying.”

To make a gift to the School of Public Health, please contact Adam Buhr at 612-626-2391 or, or visit

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