Emory Medicine, Summer 1998 - Gifts and Support

Philanthropy News

Letter to alumni
An endowed surprise
Scholarship donors and recipients
A gift of land for Alzheimer's research
Remission for lung cancer
A professorship to honor Luella Klein
Alzheimer's, under the microscope


Dear Alumni,

As president of the Medical Alumni Association, I come to you with a very important challenge. We urgently need to create new scholarship support for medical students here at Emory. As you know, the cost of receiving a medical education has skyrocketed. Although training new physicians has become an expensive endeavor, it remains the school's most important commitment. In fact, Dean Lawley has placed increased scholarship support at the top of his list of priorities. I, too, believe this need is the most pressing challenge of my two-year tenure as head of the association.

Scholarship support from alumni and friends is not just an item on a wish list. It is a necessity if Emory is going to continue to offer the high-quality education that you and I received. Unless we individually and collectively increase our commitment to scholarships, only the children of the very rich or the very poor will be able to attend Emory. If we want to enable Emory to continue to educate the best and the brightest students, from whatever background or socioeconomic status, we must pitch in now to help.


Maggie Mermin

An endowed surprise

Thomas Aaberg had two reasons to smile in February: a surprise gala in his honor and a fellowship endowed in his name.

When Thomas M. Aaberg, director of the Emory Eye Center, suggested creating an endowment to support fellowship training, some of his colleagues and staff took note. To honor Aaberg's first ten years as director of the Emory Eye Center, faculty pitched in to raise more than $110,000 just among themselves to create such an endowment. Additional fund-raising efforts raised the total to more than $1 million.

This past February, the Thomas M. Aaberg Sr. Fellowship Endowment was announced at a black-tie gala attended by Eye Center faculty, staff, and friends. Aaberg, the guest of honor, was driven to the event by ophthalmologist Paul Sternberg, who told his chief they were attending a benefit for the High Museum of Art. Imagine Aaberg's surprise when, upon arriving, he discovered the ballroom was filled to capacity with his colleagues, friends, and family. All 330 guests and many others who were unable to attend had managed to keep the event secret.

School honors scholarship donors and recipients

Chesley Vincent Scholarship recipients, from left: Adam Nowlan, Danielle LeDoux, and Gennady Gekht.

Nearly 75% of the students who attend Emory School of Medicine need some form of assistance to help finance their education. This spring, the school honored its scholarship donors and recipients in a series of luncheons that took place throughout the season.

A new scholarship at the school makes an important contribution to the education of future physicians. Donated by the late Vera Lucille Vincent, the scholarship honors her brother, Chesley Vincent, who attended Emory for one year.

The three Vincent Scholars for 1997-98 are all first-year students: Gennady Gekht, Danielle LeDoux, and Adam Nowlan. Gekht graduated magna cum laude from Loyola College, where he was captain of the hockey team and a volunteer with several community organizations. LeDoux, a graduate of Cornell with distinction, has several publications to her credit resulting from research on eye tissue and ocular herpes simplex virus.

Nowlan is a cum laude graduate of Bryan College with an MPH from Emory's Rollins School of Public Health. He has worked as a research assistant at the Center for Outcomes Evaluation at Grady Memorial Hospital as well as for two years as a high school science teacher.

Nowlan also received the John and Sara Godwin scholarship. A member of the class of 1941, Dr. Godwin and his wife established the scholarship in 1971. It has continued to grow since that time, along with the school's endowment. Adam Cohen received the Milton H. Freedman scholarship, endowed by Irma Freedman on her husband's 75th birthday. Cohen, a third-year student near the top of his class, has an undergraduate biology degree from Emory College.

A gift of land plants seeds for Alzheimer's research

The trust honors Napper Lee Johnson, mother of six children.

When J. Dennis Bryant was a boy, he used to milk a cow twice a day come rain or shine, weekday or holiday. Perhaps for that reason, Bryant doesn't consider himself "a livestock kind of person." But for 16 years, until 1968, he farmed, raising crops in addition to tending to a successful real estate business in Macon, Georgia. Farming taught Bryant the relationship between cause and effect. "If you don't plant the seed, you won't get the harvest," he says.

Springtime is for planting, and this spring Bryant and his wife, Mary, planted seeds in the School of Medicine through a gift of 200 acres of land in Pulaski County, Georgia. The trust will support research in Alzheimer's disease and will honor Mr. Bryant's mother, Napper Lee Johnson.

"One of my main goals is to set up a memorial to honor my mother, who died with Alzheimer's, and to support research in this field," Bryant says. The youngest of three sisters, Johnson was a hard worker, Bryant remembers, raising six children of her own, without hiring extra help and with none of the labor-saving devices mothers now enjoy.

By attending Emory's Mini-Medical School, open to alumni, friends, and the interested public, the Bryants have learned more about Alzheimer's disease as well as other challenging illnesses with which today's clinicians grapple.

Remission for lung cancer

Researcher Michael Fanucchi is searching for a way to extend lung cancer remission.

In the late 1970s, when Bennett A. Brown became president of the Citizens and Southern National Bank, he set about bringing the Atlanta institution back from the brink of insolvency. Under his guidance, the bank went through a series of mergers that eventually led to the formation of the powerhouse NationsBank.

Brown was so successful, friends say, because he viewed Atlanta as a community, where people could pull together to make it better. Even as Brown underwent treatment for lung cancer before his death in 1997, he was continuing to give back to the community, including to Emory.

The Bennett A. Brown Family Charitable Fund has given a generous gift to support lung cancer research by Michael Fanucchi, Brown's physician. Brown and his wife also donated a collection of 70 paintings depicting South Carolina's Low County. They now hang in the Emory Infusion Center.

A professorship to honor Luella Klein

Luella Klein

For more than four decades, Luella Klein has committed herself to women's health issues. The first woman to be elected president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Klein has made many significant contributions to the health care of women and has exemplified excellence in patient care, education, and health care administration.

To honor her achievements, the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics is creating an endowed professorship in her name. The establishment of an endowed professorship is one of the most prestigious honors an academic institution can bestow on a faculty member.

Klein joined the faculty of the School of Medicine in 1967 as associate professor and project director of the Maternal and Infant Care Project at Grady Memorial Hospital, a position she still holds today. She became a full professor in 1973, and in 1988, she was named the Charles Howard Candler professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Klein also served as the department's chair from 1986 through 1992.

For more information on this professorship, contact the school's Director of Development Sarah (Sally) Millett at 1440 Clifton Road, Suite 116, Atlanta, GA 30322, 404-727-0462.

Alzheimer's, under the microscope

Bruce Wainer will use the new microscope in Emory's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

In the laboratory of neurologist Bruce Wainer, researchers are trying to understand the basic mechanisms of nerve cell function and how these functions relate to age-associated neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. But to do this work, the investigators need advanced equipment such as a sophisticated microscope recently donated to Wainer's laboratory by Charles and Mary Ginden. Previously, the investigators carried out their studients with a shared microscope in another location on campus.

The new equipment, installed in the brain science laboratory at Wesley Woods Geriatric Center, will help researchers study brain tissue affected by Alzheimer's disease. It also will be used to perform research studies on human tissues, says Wainer, who directs the Emory University Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

The Gindens, longtime donors to the School of Medicine, take a no-nonsense approach to explaining why they made this gift. "There seemed to be a need for it," says Charles Ginden simply.


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