A group of students and donors
A group of students and donors
A scholarship recipient with her benefactors
A group of students and donors
A student with her benefactor
Joseph Gazala, M.D., celebrates his 95th birthday

Former faculty member and scholarship donor Joseph Gazala, M.D., celebrates his 95th birthday.

Student speaker Bentley Massey

Student speaker Bentley Massey tells of his excitement in joining the VCU School of Medicine.

Speakers Dean Jean Giddens, President Michael Rao and Jay Corazza

VCU School of Nursing Dean Jean Giddens, VCU President Michael Rao and Jay Corazza connect after speaking at the scholarship event.

MCV Foundation Honors Donors and Students at 12th Annual Scholarship Event

This February marked the 12th annual MCV Campus Endowed Scholarship Event, held in the Grand Ballroom of The Jefferson Hotel. The event is a celebration of the generosity of our donors and the educational achievements of our scholarship recipients. More than 240 guests attended the dinner, which pairs benefactors with their scholarship recipients for the evening.

Each year, many healthcare sciences students graduate with a debt load exceeding $100,000. More than 75 percent of students on the MCV Campus receive some type of financial aid, which can make the critical difference between having a dream and being able to pursue it. 

Brian Thomas, MCV Foundation vice president and chief development officer, reported that the number of new endowed scholarships has increased by 18 since last year, bringing the total number of endowed scholarships to 282. During fiscal year 2016, the MCV Foundation paid out more than $2.7 million in scholarships to 538 recipients across VCU Health and the five health sciences schools. 

A special dessert was brought out for Joseph Gazala, M.D., in celebration of his 95th birthday. After a distinguished career as a community physician and VCU faculty member in the department of ophthalmology, he established the Joseph R. Gazala, M.D., and Rose N. Gazala Scholarship Fund to assist medical students. The crowd sang a cheerful Happy Birthday to him.

There were a number of inspirational speakers that evening, including VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., and MCV Foundation Board Chair Harry Thalhimer. School of Nursing Dean Jean Giddens, Ph.D., R.N., and her husband Jay Corazza spoke about their diverse economic backgrounds and how their experience as students motivated them to establish the Giddens-Corazza Endowment to assist VCU nursing students.

Another highlight of the evening was student speaker Bentley Massey. Bentley is currently a third-year medical student who plans to pursue a career in general surgery. Before attending VCU School of Medicine, he taught seventh grade science and coached middle school baseball in Wilson, North Carolina. While he was on the waiting list to attend medical school, he described the jubilation he felt one day at the end of summer when he received the call informing him that his dreams of going to medical school at VCU would come true.  

Bentley spoke about his excitement in joining the other new medical students in the Egyptian Building for roll call on the first day of school. It was there that he learned he was the last student accepted to medical school that year and would receive the Dr. Miles Hinch Scholarship. This scholarship was established by Dr. Larry Schlesinger, M.D., in honor of the dean of admissions who admitted him as the very last student in the Class of 1971. Bentley later spoke with Dr. Schlesinger on the phone, who assured him that he had no reason not to do well in school. Dr. Schlesinger was accepted into medical school two weeks after classes started and ended up tied for first place when he graduated. 

“That last seat has true honor,” said Dr. Schlesinger. “It certainly doesn’t define you as least. The last student selected is ahead of thousands of others who will never deliver a baby or help save a life.”

Contact us to learn how you can contribute to a scholarship and pass on a legacy of excellence to the next generation of healthcare providers.