Students and leaders of the University of Colorado School of Medicine thanked scholarship benefactors at a reception Thursday evening in the Anschutz Health Sciences Building.
Each year, benefactors are invited to campus to meet students who have received scholarships made possible by philanthropic donations. This year’s reception filled the Elliman Conference Center, where students, faculty, and administrators thanked benefactors.
“We want to be in a position to attract the best and the brightest to the University of Colorado to pursue their training,” said John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, dean of the School of Medicine, “and scholarships help us remove financial barriers that would stand in the way so that we can assemble a class of talent that looks like the communities that we serve.”
Shanta Zimmer, MD, senior associate dean for education and professor of medicine, explained that benefactors often help students in moments of great need.
“Sometimes students come on the edge of particular financial hardship, and we reach out to our advancement team and learn there might be a new scholarship that’s coming and we’re able to – in the moment – take away their worries,” Zimmer said. “Often that’s met with tears with people in my office. I wish that you could be with me in those moments because your gifts make it possible for them to achieve their dreams.
Impact on students and family
Students from the MD, physical therapy, and physician assistant programs also offered their thanks in remarks during the reception.
Daniel Owens, a fourth-year medical student, recalled the challenges that he encountered in and out of school: a low test score, the birth of a child, purchasing snow tires. He recognized that the benefactors also had such experiences.
“I also think and hope that you had people to support you through these challenges: Friends, family, partners, professors, and many more,” Owens said. “I think it’s worth quickly reflecting on how much we appreciate those people and what they did for us during those challenging times. Please know that you are one of those people for us. The scholarships that you all provide for the students make our challenges a little bit easier and our time in medical school a whole lot richer.”
Aryssara Bryndzia, who is pursuing a doctor of physical therapy degree, spoke about the challenges on her journey to the School of Medicine – her first choice – and the joy of being accepted to the Class of 2023.
“I persevered and now I’m standing here before you as president of my class and a proud recipient of one of the CU Medicine scholarships,” said Bryndzia, who plans to pursue pediatric physical therapy, inspired by Lisa Dannemiller, PT, DSC, associate professor of physical therapy.
Alex Khoury, a student in the Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant program, described overcoming prejudice toward the LGBTQ+ community and thanked benefactors for elevating the voices of those underrepresented in medicine, allowing them to ameliorate barriers to care.
“The recipients here come from diverse backgrounds, overcame different adversities, and had unique stories, but gratitude that we share toward our benefactors remains the same,” Khoury said. “You have provided us with an opportunity to learn and care for patients.
“We will carry these skills on throughout our lives, many of us becoming leaders in medicine and shaping our health care system. Whatever glories and achievements we attain, you will have a share in that. Again, the benefits of your kindness and support have unlocked incredible potential that otherwise may lay dormant. Thank you for planting us and watering us. We won’t stop growing any time soon.”