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The Power of Philanthropy: Benefactors Celebrated for Generosity

“Put together a dream with a dime and you can change time,” said Ed Orr. Incredible achievements are made possible when visionary top talent and philanthropic partners who share in that vision come together. This sentiment was echoed through the entire evening dedicated to recognizing outstanding philanthropists to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. “Today, as we look to the next 20 years, we share a clear vision: delivering the finest medical care in the world, pushing the science behind that care to new horizons, and training those who will deliver it in the future,” said CU Anschutz Chancellor Donald Elliman. “We are focused on top talent and innovation as keys to continued forward momentum.”

Nearly 500 people attended the 2020 Benefactor Recognition Dinner, an event that took place in the Seawell Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on February 20.

This year’s event honored three special benefactors: Susie and Ed Orr, Annalee and Wagner, MD ’63, Schorr and Joan and Henry ’51 Strauss. Hosts for the evening included Chancellor Elliman and UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital President and CEO Christopher Gessner, with special guest CU President Mark Kennedy.

The evening began with a story from Cheryl and Robert Meguid, MD, who benefited from the patient care available at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital (UCH). In 2017, Dr. Meguid fell ill during a family trip to Australia. He was hospitalized, and spent weeks in intensive care before taking a 23-hour intercontinental life flight to Denver to continue his care at UCH. He was in septic shock and his kidneys were failing. He had a tracheotomy to help him breathe and his condition was critical. Today, following his intensive treatment, he is back to providing care for patients at UCH as a cardiothoracic surgeon after his team saved his life.

The 2020 honorees have all given to different areas at CU Anschutz. Susie and Ed Orr have been married for 38 years and are longstanding supports for the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes. Ed’s great-grandparents homesteaded and raised livestock near what is now Granby, Colorado, in 1883. Today, Susie and Ed spend time at the ranch and raise thoroughbred race horses. At a young age, Ed was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and is now dedicated to finding a cure through innovative research.

Annalee and Wagner, MD, Schorr have been connected to CU since Wag’s time as a student. He launched his career as a nephrologist, and served as chief of medicine at Presbyterian Medical Center, president of the Medical Advisory Board for the National Kidney Foundation and clinical professor at the CU School of Medicine. Wag served nine years on the Medical Alumni Association Board of Directors, several as president, and is a former member of the School of Medicine Admissions Committee. Annalee is an accomplished artist, using unexpected objects like aluminum sheets, mirrored Mylar and duct tape to build complex geometric art. They give both their time and resources to support CU School of Medicine students and research efforts.

Joan and Henry Strauss are passionate about integrative medicine. Henry created the Florence G. Strauss-Leonard A. Wisneski Indigenous and Integrative Medicine Collection to ensure students had access to information on integrative medicine. This special book collection in the library is one of the largest dedicated to integrative medicine in the country. As an alumnus, he also volunteers his time at the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Gessner said, “While we set our sights on the horizon, we must never lose sight of our unity of purpose – transforming lives, in ways large and small, through the next research discovery, the newest therapy, the latest education and training.”

To close the evening and demonstrate that commitment to changing lives, the final story was about Amanda Campbell and her six-year-old son Brady. Amanda’s husband, Brandon, passed away in July 2019 after battling stage IV colon cancer. He received care at the CU Cancer Center and sought treatment from the palliative care team. Following his passing, Brady set up a lemonade stand to raise money to take his mom on a date. First responders and members of the community came out to support Brady is his efforts. Today, Amanda and Brady are giving back to CU Anschutz in memory of the care Brandon received during his final months.

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Changing Lives Through Endowed Chairs

On September 25, Chancellor Donald M. Elliman, Jr. welcomed 80 guests to the third annual Endowed Chair Celebration at the Wellshire Event Center in Denver to celebrate benefactors who support endowed chairs and the faculty who hold those positions. “We would not be where we are today without you,” he said. “Quite simply, you are changing lives.”

The Patten-Davis Foundation Trustee David Cohen spoke on behalf of the foundation and its founder Amy Davis about their longstanding support for faculty endowed chairs. “It was an honor and privilege to know Amy, and it is impossible to overstate what a dynamic and dedicated person Amy was.” Support from Amy Davis and The Patten-Davis Foundation spans decades and has fueled research in several areas throughout the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. “Her passions were health and education,” said Cohen. In total, Amy Davis and The Patten-Davis Foundation created five endowed chairs and multiple research funds to support faculty at the CU Cancer Center and the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes.

The Patten-Davis Foundation’s five endowed chairs are:

  • Amy Davis Endowed Chair in Basic Human Immunology
  • Courtenay C. and Lucy Patten Davis Endowed Chair in Lung Cancer Research
  • Courtenay C. and Lucy Patten Davis Endowed Chair in Surgical Thoracic Oncology
  • William Robinson Endowed Chair in Cancer Research
  • Richard Abrams and Marian Rewers Endowed Chair

“I was lucky enough to work with Amy over the years, as were the other trustees, and we try to stay true to Amy’s vision and support the things she was passionate about,” said Cohen.

A faculty panel at the event featured Eduardo Davila, PhD, James DeGregori, PhD, and William Robinson, MD, PhD. Each of these faculty have benefitted from The Patten-Davis Foundation’s philanthropy.

“Endowed chairs allow us to take calculated risks and innovate,” said Dr. DeGregori. “Sometimes these ideas are the next big breakthrough, leading to additional funding and new therapies for patients. We can’t take these kinds of risks with NIH [National Institutes of Health] funding.”

The panelists are all outstanding faculty at the CU Cancer Center focused on translational research. Dr. Davila is working on solid tumor immunology to use patients’ own cells to fight cancers. He is an integral partner in the Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

Dr. DeGregori is a molecular biologist and immunologist researching the conditions that promote the evolution of cancers and developing interventions to prevent this. As a member of the CU Cancer Center leadership team, he is also building a national reputation of excellence for the center and helping build an ever-more robust research program at CU.

Dr. Robinson is a physician-researcher developing new treatments based on specific genetic make-up of various cancers. He was a longtime friend and physician of Amy Davis.

Investments in endowed chairs are powerful, as these positions serve as recruitment tools for top talent from around the country. Dr. Davila, one of the newest members of the CU School of Medicine faculty said, “Endowed chairs are a recognition from university leadership of our past, our present and future commitments to transform medicine.” In total, the CU Anschutz Medical Campus is home to 108 endowed chairs. This is a total value of more than $250 million that is used to make a difference in health care. These resources allow faculty to push boundaries and focus on transformative therapies that will impact countless lives.

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Local Foundations Band Together to Expand Childhood Mental Health Workforce

Philanthropic investments double the number of community-based infant and early childhood mental health fellows

Five Colorado-based philanthropic funders came together in a tremendous effort to address the state’s workforce shortage related to infant and early childhood mental health. Their collective investments will double the number of community-based infant and early childhood mental health professionals, through training by the Irving Harris Program in Child Development and Infant Mental Health in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Caring for Colorado, Community First Foundation, The Piton Foundation at Gary Community Investments, the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation and ZOMA Foundation assembled in 2018, to build momentum towards expanding the Irving Harris Program. They brought together diverse perspectives to foster collaboration, challenge conventional thinking and spur innovation in infant and early childhood mental health.

“That kind of collective effort is necessary in order to replicate and scale the best solutions, like the Irving Harris Program,” said Rebecca Alderfer, a senior program consultant at ZOMA Foundation. “This opportunity shows how shared objectives can leverage resources to make a bigger impact.”

Lisa Montagu, investment director at Gary Community Investments, said, “We are energized when philanthropy aligns to help launch strategic projects such as this one.”

The funders gathered with a singular focus on improving infant and early childhood mental health. This effort involves removing barriers to care by integrating mental health into the communities where families live and work.

“We strive to create a network of care and support that meets moms, babies and families where they are,” said Noah Atencio, vice president of community impact at Community First Foundation. “We also aim to deepen knowledge and transform the way mothers’ and children’s mental health are cared for throughout pregnancy and postpartum.”

Irving Harris

The Irving Harris Program is led by Director Karen Frankel, PhD, and Co-Director Ayelet Talmi, PhD.  They said, “We are enormously grateful for the collaborative effort and spirit the foundations in the community have brought to addressing the infant and early childhood mental health workforce shortage. Their creativity, courage and commitment are exceptional.”

Over 30 years ago, the concept for infant and early childhood mental health training flourished from a friendship between Robert J. Harmon, MD, a child psychiatrist in the CU Department of Psychiatry, and Irving Harris, retired businessman and founder of the Irving Harris Foundation. Dr. Harmon and Mr. Harris were board members of ZERO TO THREE, a national organization that pioneered the field of infant and early childhood mental health.

Robert Harmon, MD

Both men shared a passion for young children and their developmental needs. Years after their meeting, Harris asked Harmon about creating an infant mental health program in Colorado. This conversation led to the establishment of the Irving Harris Program in Child Development and Infant Mental Health in 1996.

The program trains postdoctoral psychology fellows and community professionals with advanced clinical skills in infant and early childhood mental health. Clinical settings include traditional outpatient services, pediatric primary care centers and other medical clinics, early care and education centers, and home-based services.

“Through our work across the state, we regularly interact with Harris trained mental health clinicians who are advocates, experts, leaders and change makers,” said Colleen Church, vice president of programs at Caring for Colorado. “By investing in fellows across the state, who are deeply embedded in their communities, we can support the health and well-being of Colorado’s youngest children and their caregivers.”

Shaleah Dardar, MD

Shaleah Dardar, MD, is one of the more than 90 postdoctoral fellows and community fellows who have completed training through the Irving Harris Program. She currently serves as an assistant professor in the CU Department of Psychiatry.

Dr. Dardar said, “I learned that being an Irving Harris Fellow was more than just training. It meant having colleagues who are leaders in the field, working collaboratively with families to promote healthy relationships and well-being in young children, and pushing the field continuously through scholarship and advocacy.”

Philanthropic support from the funders will ensure that more infant and early childhood mental health professionals positively impact the lives of young children, their families and caretakers. Their investment in fellows is a commitment to promoting healthy beginnings for some of our youngest minds.


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A Celebration of Loyalty

On August 28, alumni, friends, faculty and staff gathered on campus for the fourth annual Loyal Benefactor Celebration. The special event honors those who make regular annual gifts to support the university, those who have included the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in their estate plans, and faculty and staff who give through monthly payroll deduction. Chancellor Don Elliman delivered a message of gratitude and gave an update on the latest campus developments.

Elliman shared the story of alumni Diann and Harold Eason, a couple who have been part of the CU family for decades. Diann graduated from the College of Nursing in 1969 with a master’s degree in psychiatric mental health. Nearly a decade ago, Diann retired from her position at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, where she worked as a manager of employee health and wellness. Harold is a two-time CU alumnus; he earned his bachelor’s degree at CU Boulder in engineering and his master’s in business administration from CU Denver.

Diann and Harold have been giving to CU Anschutz consistently for more than 15 years. Together, the couple have generously supported fellowships for psychiatric mental health students and contributed to the CU College of Nursing regularly, to ensure its future strength and success. The Easons also support engineering at CU Boulder and business at CU Denver, making an impact for many students and faculty, and for the broader community.

Chancellor Elliman thanked Diann, Harold and guests for their vital partnership that enables the CU Anschutz Medical Campus to realize an ambitious vision for the future.

“People like Diann and Harold are some of many who make the CU Anschutz Medical Campus the destination it is today,” said Chancellor Elliman. “You are foundational to our growth and progress, and your gifts are a vote of confidence in our vision as a campus and where we’re headed together. We’re grateful for your partnership as we aspire to ever greater heights.”

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Paying it Forward to CU Physical Therapy

Giving in gratitude because of careers and care

Dean Hasse, Colleen Kigin (PT ’70) and Pat Grant

Scholarships are a vital part of the Physical Therapy Program at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. They help attract the best and brightest students, and give them the resources they need to make the most of their education.

In 2018, the CU PT Program awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships for the first time in the program’s history, creating countless opportunities for students. These investments in the next generation of physical therapists would not be possible without the generous support of alumni and community partners like Colleen Kigin (PT ’70), Dean Hasse and Pat Grant.

An alumna and longtime supporter of the CU PT Program, Kigin gives in gratitude for her education and a career that has enabled her to make important contributions to physical therapy practice, education and research.

While a student in the program, Kigin worked with the patient who received the world’s first liver transplant at the Colorado General Hospital, and later met the physicians who treated that patient. The experience, she said, is a powerful reminder of the importance of interdisciplinary care.

“A central part of my learning was understanding how to best address the overall needs of the patient, and to do so through innovation and talent of many professionals working as a team,” said Kigin.

Today, Kigin is helping to build the future of the profession, not only through her philanthropy, but also through her roles at CU as chair of the Physical Therapy Scholarship and Endowment Advisory Board and clinical professor of physical therapy.

Dean Hasse is a Denver-area physical therapist who also serves on the Physical Therapy Scholarship and Endowment Advisory Board. His giving to scholarships is motivated by gratitude for his career. “My profession has provided me with so many opportunities that I feel compelled to assist others on their journey in becoming physical therapists,” he said.

Hasse holds a strong affinity for the CU PT Program, considering it his adopted academic home.  “My alma matter is quite far away, and CU is right in my back yard,” he said. “CU is doing amazing things in the world of physical therapy, so it just makes sense for me to ‘adopt’ the program as my own.”

Pat Grant served as the first chair of the Physical Therapy Scholarship and Endowment Advisory Board, helping to establish a framework for long-term financial support for students. Today, the CU PT Program’s endowment is on track to surpassing $5 million, because of the support of benefactors making outright planned gifts, and long-term pledges.

Grant gives back in gratitude for the care he received from Denise Stelzner, PT, MBA, which allowed him to get back to his normal outdoor activities like horseback riding. He invests in scholarships for students interested in practicing in rural and agricultural Colorado communities. “My hope is for students to better understand and become aware of the rural challenges to health care,” he said.

Addison Huck

Addison Huck, a current physical therapy student at CU, has benefitted from the support of benefactors like Grant. Huck said, “Scholarships mean that I have the freedom to follow my passion to help rural and underserved communities, rather than worrying about financial debt or salary.”

Huck learned that he had a passion for healing through movement during his experiences as a personal trainer, and he came to realize that he wanted to understand human anatomy at a deeper level. “I was determined that the CU PT Program would get me where I needed to be – a movement specialist with the knowledge to help people become active participants in their lives,” he said. “I hope to increase access to physical therapy and fitness for those who are hard to reach and most in need.”


Helen Ortiz

Helen Ortiz is also benefiting from a physical therapy scholarship. She said she chose the CU PT Program because of its strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. In order to support more students like Ortiz, the CU PT Program has increased the number of scholarships over the past five years that are dedicated to attracting students from diverse backgrounds. “My scholarship means that I deserve to be on this campus, and that I’m welcomed here,” said Ortiz. “When studying gets tough, I can reflect on the people that believe in me.”

Huck and Ortiz were among the scholarship recipients celebrated at the annual CU Physical Therapy Scholarship Reception on June 27, along with Colleen Kigin, Dean Hasse, Pat Grant and other key benefactors.

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Lighting the Way Forward

Experts have noted that the radiance of one extraordinary star can sometimes be brilliant enough to cause the other stars around it to shine even more brightly. A pioneer and a luminary in the field of neonatology, such has been the powerful and empowering impact of Lula Olga Lubchenco, MD. No stranger to “firsts,” Dr. Lu, as she was known, is the inspiration behind the Lula O. Lubchenco Endowed Chair in Neonatology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the first chair created in honor of a female faculty member in campus history.

Born in Turkistan, Russia, in 1915 to an American physician mother and a Russian agronomist father, Lula was the second of five children. She was born prematurely – prescient, given the focus of her life’s work, the stellar trajectory of her career, and her profound and guiding influence on the field of neonatology.

The Lubchenco family fled war-torn Russia in 1917. They escaped across Siberia to China, landed in San Francisco, lived for a time in South Carolina, and eventually moved to northeast Colorado in 1930. Following high school, Lula attended the University of Denver and graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1939. She did an internship at Colorado General Hospital followed by a pediatric internship at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. She returned to Children’s Hospital Colorado to complete her pediatric residency, a research fellowship, and a year in private practice. She became an associate professor in the CU Department of Pediatrics in 1943 and a professor in 1969. When Colorado General Hospital established its Premature Infant Center in 1947, Lula became its first medical director.

Dr. Lu was a devoted wife to fellow physician Dr. Carl Josephson and the mother of four daughters, two of whom became doctors. Their third child graduated from the CU Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant Program and became a lawyer. Their youngest daughter was born with Down syndrome, and an important aspect of Dr. Lu’s story became her unflinching advocacy for people with Down syndrome at a time when resources were scarce.

Lula conducted groundbreaking research on and initiated transformative advances and approaches to infant care throughout her career. Her work tracking the relationship between birth weight and gestational age differentiated “prematurity” and “low birth weight for gestational age” resulted in the publication of a chart that came to be called “the Lulagram”, still in use today, that is instrumental in informing optimal newborn care. She was among the first to suspect a link between oxygen administration and the eye condition now known as retinopathy of prematurity, and was able to dramatically reduce the incidence of blindness in preterm infants in her own neonatal intensive clinic, although it took years for physicians at other institutions to acknowledge the connection. She helped spearhead collaborative training in neonatal resuscitation for obstetric and pediatric residents, a novel concept at the time. She recognized the benefits of an integrated approach to prenatal care and advocated for including social workers, nutritionists and visiting nurses in the care of pregnant mothers. She pushed for the transport of high-risk pregnancy patients to regional health care centers, understanding that the mothers themselves were the best incubators for their tiny babies for as long as possible. She was a tenacious advocate for on-demand feeding, breast feeding and keeping the baby in the mother’s hospital room, as opposed to a nursery. Although the nursing staff often preferred the controlled environment of the nursery, when Dr. Lu thought an action was in the best interest of the baby and the mother, there was no compromise.

Dr. Lubchenco’s work was motivated by the challenges she met as a clinician. She possessed a keen intellectual curiosity that invariably led to enhanced knowledge and understanding, and often created a turning point in the practice of medicine and the care of newborn babies. As Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and former CU School of Medicine Dean Richard Krugman, MD, fondly recalled, “when something was going on with a baby that we didn’t understand, Dr. Lu would often say with a twinkle in her eye, ‘let’s just see if we can figure this out,’ and it was very rare that we didn’t.” She was a prolific researcher and writer, the author of 52 published articles, 34 abstracts, 19 book chapters and an acclaimed book, “The High-Risk Infant.” In a recent analysis in the journal Pediatrics identifying the 100 most cited pediatric articles between 1945 and 2010, Lula was an author or co-author of three of them.

Looking back, Dr. Lu’s colleagues marvel at her ability to successfully innovate and excel in the field of medicine, while simultaneously balancing the needs of her family, all with humility and grace. “In the days when there were still relatively few women in medicine, Dr. Lu was the finest role model for how to get so much done in the time available. She combined innovative ideas with common sense to solve all sorts of problems – clinical, research and the everyday logistics of a nursery, not to mention organizing her home and family as well,” says pediatrician Sharon Langendoerfer, MD. CU Department of Pediatrics Professor M. Douglas Jones, MD, recalls, “long before the popularization of the catchphrase ‘Just Do It,’ Dr. Lu, without fanfare or drama, was simultaneously managing a large family with a special needs child and asking, and answering, profoundly important questions in pediatric medicine.”

Scientist, teacher, physician, visionary, wife, mother and advocate, Dr. Lubchenco was an exceptional role model for other medical professionals, especially women. Her remarkable legacy resonates to this day and will continue to light the way forward for generations to come. In Dr. Krugman’s words, “for more than a half century she helped thousands of trainees overcome their fear of even touching these premature babies and in her remarkable, quiet competence helped our oversized, awkward hands learn how to examine, treat and comfort these neonates. This characterized how she taught and how she lived.”

For Neonatology Section Head Randall Wilkening, MD, an endowed chair is a fitting honor for Dr. Lubchenco and will serve as “a happy reminder of Dr. Lu’s humility, her insight and her many lessons to all she encountered.”

There could not be a brighter light by which to advance the future of pediatric and neonatal medicine in Colorado and beyond.

Learn more about the Lula O. Lubchenco, MD, Endowed Chair in Neonatology:

Travis Leiker
Philanthropic Advisor

Make a gift online.

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Celebrating the Leopold Korn and Michael Korn Endowed Chair in Parkinson’s Disease

On May 23, more than 20 guests gathered to celebrate the Leopold Korn and Michael Korn Endowed Chair in Parkinson’s Disease. President Bruce and Marcy Benson, Chancellor Elliman, and CU Foundation CEO Jack Finlaw all attended to thank Marcia and Dick Robinson for their generosity.

Marcia and Richard Robinson have strong roots in Colorado. They have dedicated time and resources to health care, and to building centers and structures at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The Robinsons have been married for over 60 years and have two children, Ellen and John, and two grandchildren. Dick and his brother, Edward, co-founded Robinson Dairy in 1975.

Early investors in the CU Cancer Center, the Robinsons’ ongoing commitments helped establish the center and fueled early research and patient care efforts. Today, the CU Cancer Center is nationally renowned and raising the standard of care around the country.

Their support for the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at CU Anschutz is expanding educational opportunities for students and ensuring the continued success of the center.

Marcia and Dick, along with the Adelstein family, established the Leopold Korn and Michael Korn Professorship in Parkinson’s Disease in 2007. With a recent philanthropic gift, the Robinsons transformed the professorship into an endowed chair. They hope their recent philanthropy will help faculty at CU Anschutz better treat, and ultimately prevent, this neuromuscular disease.

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Remembering a Legacy, Inspiring the Future

Appreciation at the CU School of Dental Medicine Scholarship Luncheon

“With creativity and vision, you too can have an incredible impact on the dental medicine profession,” said guest speaker and benefactor Estelle Meskin at the annual CU School of Dental Medicine scholarship luncheon.

The Meskin Family and Sarah Crepps (DDS ’19)

Held on March 8, the event celebrated the impact of scholarships for aspiring dentists and honored benefactors who generously contribute to dental scholarships.

Meskin spoke about the inspiration behind the Lawrence H. Meskin, DDS, MS, MPH, PhD, Scholarship, which was named after her late husband in honor of his legacy and important contributions to dental medicine. Dr. Meskin was the former dean at the CU School of Dental Medicine from 1981 to 1987. He was a renowned dental educator, research and clinician, with a passion for using evidence-based research to improve dental care.

Dr. Meskin’s legacy is carried forward through the Meskin Scholarship, and through scholarship recipients, like Sarah Crepps, DDS ‘19, who go on to become dental leaders. Sarah was one of the many scholarship recipients celebrated at the luncheon last month. It is the innovative approach to dental care that drew her to the profession.

Veronica Pryor, DDS ’22

“We are changing practice in ways other people have not – all to save and improve lives. Whether that is bringing antidotes and therapies to market, taking care of solutions for our combat soldiers with our military research or just taking care of patients.”


Dental students Veronica Pryor and Jaryn Dupree, DDS ‘22, were also recognized at the luncheon. Veronica, a first-generation college student, knew she wanted to be a dentist when she was five years old. She said, “When I visited my dentist’s office, I loved seeing the before and after images on the wall, and photo albums of mission trips completed around the world. I saw how dentists could make an impact on many lives, and it inspired me to want to do the same.”

Jaryn Dupree, DDS ’22

Jaryn grew up in an economically disadvantaged community in Pueblo, and credits access to education and philanthropic support to his success in pursuing a career as a dentist. “Thanks to incredibly generous benefactors, I can focus on further developing my career as a dentist without worrying about the financial burden of an education,” he said.

Dr. Denise Kassebaum, dean, expressed appreciation on behalf of the CU School of Dental Medicine for all that a strong community of benefactors makes possible for students like Sarah, Veronica and Jaryn.

Dean Denise Kassebaum

“We’re grateful for the generous support toward the careers of dental students. These bright young minds are dedicating themselves to person-centered care, and are on their way to becoming the next leaders in dental medicine,” she said.

It’s private support from benefactors like Estelle and the Meskin family that helps ensure student success at the CU School of Dental Medicine. Scholarships help the school compete for the best and brightest students from around the country and around the world, and give those students the resources they need to make the most of their education and leave CU prepared to transform lives.


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CU Faculty and Staff Invest in Future Health Care Leaders

Scholarships support students’ dreams, advance their careers

Faculty and staff are a vital part of our philanthropic community at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. They have the foresight to invest in our students and our future success at CU. One way that faculty and staff support our students is by directing a portion of their clinical revenues to the CU Medicine Scholarship Program. The program recognizes outstanding academic and extracurricular achievement among those students pursuing degrees in medicine, physical therapy, the physician assistant program or anesthesiology.

In 2018, the CU Medicine Scholarship Program provided nearly $1 million to more than 50 students from diverse backgrounds. The scholarship recipients are those who have demonstrated a commitment to serving their communities as health care leaders, and intend to practice in rural communities.

The following students are just three of many outstanding scholarship recipients for the 2018-2019 academic year who were recognized among others at the 2018 CU Medicine Scholarship Reception.

Katherine “Kitty” Branche
Class year: 2021
Program: Doctor of Medicine

Why CU Anschutz?

I chose this campus for the people. I knew that wherever I went for medical school, I was going to have to work very hard. The difference, however, would be made by those who were part of my academic journey. The CU School of Medicine is filled with inspiring and incredible students and faculty that are passionate and thrive on collaboration. That’s an environment that I wanted to be immersed in.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in medicine?

I’ve wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. I loved the idea of taking care of others and of following in the footsteps of four generations of doctors before me on my father’s side.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy playing tennis, hanging out with friends, volunteering at my church, cooking, traveling and watching movies.

What does scholarship support mean to you?
My scholarship means so much to me. Tuition is a big investment for me, as an out-of-state student. The additional support enables me to take out less loans that need to be paid back in the future.

What would you say to someone interested in giving to scholarships or supporting educational programs at CU?
I would encourage making the investment. One day I hope to be able to give back through scholarships in the future. I truly believe in the concept of paying it forward, and I can’t think of a better way to empower students to pursue careers in medicine.


Kevin Earl Morris II
Class Year: 2018
Program: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Why CU Anschutz?

I decided to visit the campus during my junior year of undergraduate school. A student from the CU School of Medicine volunteered their time and spent an afternoon showing me around campus. It made me feel valued, respected and inspired. That simple gesture made CU Anschutz feel like home.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in medicine?
I shadowed a physical therapist in high school, and I observed the transformative effect that physical therapists have on a patient’s life. Many of these patients expressed gratitude for their care and their own ability to conquer chronic pain, injuries or movement disorders. The experience stuck with me. I hope to offer the same gift of health to the patients that I’ll one day have the privilege to serve.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy playing video games, hiking, cross country skiing and reading about American politics.

What does scholarship support mean to you?
As a first-generation college student, I didn’t have easily accessible means to finance my education. Scholarship support afforded me the opportunity to chase my passion and follow my dreams.

What would you say to someone interested in giving to scholarships or supporting educational programs at CU?
By providing the gift of scholarships, you give students like me a chance – a chance to become eager learners, mentors and make a difference on the world. The effect of scholarships ultimately come back to the patients we serve with compassion and gratitude.


Brittney Poggiogalle
Class Year: 2021
Program: CHA/PA (Physician Assistant)

Why CU Anschutz?

One reason is because of the physician’s assistant program’s strong pediatric focus. I love working with children and have always known I wanted a career working with them. During my interview for the program, I was welcomed into a warm and supportive community. Every day I feel extremely lucky to be supported and included in such an incredible program and beautiful campus.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in medicine?
I’ve always known I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. From a young age, I saw the impact that clinicians have on patients’ lives, like my mom’s, as she received care for multiple sclerosis. I knew that I wanted to make the same impact on lives through a career in medicine.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing?
When I’m not studying, you can find me working out and spending time with friends and family. I love to do strength workouts as well as cycling classes. Since moving to Colorado, I’ve also been getting outside to hike around our beautiful state.

What does scholarship support mean to you?
Being awarded for my passion for primary care has only made me more excited and confident to make a difference in patients’ lives. I’m dedicated to educating, building relationships and delivering high-quality health care, and scholarship support helps me achieve these goals. For that, I’m beyond appreciative.

What would you say to someone interested in giving to scholarships or supporting educational programs at CU?
I highly encourage it. Scholarship support has brought me great financial relief as I continue through school, meaning that I can shift my focus to my studies, and serving others. Scholarships truly make a difference in the lives of students, no matter the amount. I couldn’t be more appreciative for those who have contributed to the scholarships at CU Anschutz.

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Chancellor Elliman Recognizes Endowed Chair Benefactors and Holders

On October 25, Chancellor Don Elliman welcomed more than 90 guests to the second annual Endowed Chair Celebration at the Brown Palace in Denver to celebrate benefactors and endowed chair holders.

Guest speakers included Ned Calonge, MD, MPH, from The Colorado Trust and Director of the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health Spero Manson, PhD. Dr. Manson is the second eldest of 67 first cousins from his maternal grandmother’s side. Only half of them graduated from high school and nearly 60 percent are no longer alive — their lives shortened by health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. American Indian health is close to Dr. Manson’s heart and something he is dedicated to improving.

“This notion of investment is very familiar to me and the expectations that go along with that. What I’m about personally is almost indistinguishable from what I’m about professionally. I see my role as figuring out how to span the boundaries between the personal and professional to bring solutions to people,” said Dr. Manson. “I believe we are capable of addressing those challenges if we are provided with the opportunities to step forward, acquire the skills to address those issues and arrive at solutions that help people.”

Dr. Calonge, director of The Colorado Trust, holds academic appointments in both the Colorado School of Public Health and the CU School of Medicine. His passion is health equity. To continue this work, Dr. Calonge spearheaded efforts to create The Colorado Trust Chair in American Indian Health at the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health in the Colorado School of Public Health. “Aside from government and business and academia, there is a great freedom in philanthropy for taking risks that really doesn’t exist as strongly in other sectors. We have the most flexible funding available in the United States. These are the dollars that should be spent on innovation,” said Dr. Calonge.

This endowed chair accelerates the work happening at the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health under Dr. Manson’s leadership. The four central focus areas include: mentoring and educational opportunities for individuals who wish to work as health care professionals in their tribal communities; programs promoting prevention and health lifestyles; integration of diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and health promotion services that improve access and quality of patient care; and the acquisition of data to inform decisions and policies to improve program success in Native communities.


“Our mission is driven by one thing and one thing only and that is our talented professionals. Recruiting and retaining the best talent is simply the metric by which we will succeed,” said Chancellor Elliman. “Having endowed chairs through philanthropy is an integral part of that process.”