A Celebration for Scholarships

The Jefferson Hotel’s Grand Ballroom was filled with inspiration, gratitude and warmth at the annual MCV Campus Endowed Scholarship Brunch Feb. 25.

“Every year we host this event, we continue to be in awe of the incredibly talented MCV Campus students who will be tomorrow’s health care leaders,” said Margaret Ann Bollmeier, MCV Foundation president and CEO. “It is an honor to bring together scholarship recipients with the generous donors who support such deserving and hardworking students." 

Donors have created 14 new endowed scholarships since last March, raising the total to 540 endowed scholarships supporting health science students on the MCV Campus. Total impact of current and endowed scholarships on the MCV Campus exceeded $9 million in the 2023-24 academic year.

The annual MCV Campus Endowed Scholarship Brunch event allows scholarship recipients to spend time with their donors and share a delicious meal together at the Jefferson Hotel. Photos: Daniel Sangjib Min. 
Speakers George W. Burke III, M.D., a VCU School of Medicine alum and MCV Foundation trustee, and Calvin Yeager, Ph.D., a VCU School of Dentistry student, inspired attendees during the event.

Special guests at this year’s brunch included George W. Burke III, M.D., a VCU School of Medicine alum and MCV Foundation trustee. He joined the School of Medicine Pulmonary Division as an assistant professor in 1977, then in 1979 entered private practice with Pulmonary Associates of Richmond.

“For those of us who went through health care, all the skids were greased. We had a culture 50 years ago that allowed us to receive an affordable health care education,” said Dr. Burke, who volunteers for the School of Medicine Office of Admissions in his retirement. “As donors to the MCV Campus today, we want to support students who are facing financial burdens, and the wonderful offshoot of it is that it helps the quality of health care in general.”

The foundation recognized Jean Giddens, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Nursing, as she prepares to leave the MCV Campus after more than a decade of incredible leadership, innovation and dedication.

The student speaker was Calvin Yeager, Ph.D., a VCU School of Dentistry student who holds a doctorate in microbiology and immunology and stokes his passion for inquiry by working in the VCU Philips Institute for Oral Health Research. Dr. Yeager grew up in a northern California coastal community where his family’s circumstances were meager.

“I truly believe that scholarships are life-changing for students because every moment we don’t have to be working to live, we can start giving back,” Dr. Yeager said. “Every dollar invested in philanthropy is redistributed to the community through service and will improve the future of health care.” 

MCV Foundation trustee Ernesto Sampson (front-right) and his wife, Savon, shared a table with the family and friends of the late Clelia May Johnson who was the namesake of one of more than 540 endowed scholarships on the MCV Campus. 
L to R: Guests included VCU associate vice president of faculty affairs Joseph DiPiro, Pharm.D, and his wife, Cecily DiPiro, Pharm.D., who created the Joseph and Cecily DiPiro Scholarship; MCV Foundation vice president Brian Thomas and his wife, Carla Thomas; former foundation trustee Kit Sullivan, D.D.S., who created the Kit Tucker Sullivan, D.D.S., Scholarship; and Lyndon Cooper, D.D.S, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Dentistry, and his wife, Lisa Cooper.

If you are interested in supporting an existing student scholarship or starting a new fund, please contact Brian Thomas, the foundation’s vice president and chief development officer, at 804-828-0067 or brian.thomas@vcuhealth.org.