61 Students Honored at Scholarship Reception
Donors, faculty and family members turned out to honor College of Health Professions students who were awarded scholarships during the college’s annual scholarship reception.
Sixty-one students were recognized at the Nov. 9 reception, which was held in the Daniel W. Rahn Interprofessional Education Building.
Then-Dean Douglas Murphy, Ph.D., congratulated the students on their awards and praised the donors for investing in the college and its students. He reminded the crowd that “scholarships have the potential to transform people,” from the students who receive the rewards to the patients who are ultimately treated by UAMS graduates.
Murphy turned to the words of poet Maya Angelou to sum up the beauty of giving and of receiving.
To the donors, he offered this quote, “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
And to the recipients, he shared these wise words, “One must know not just how to accept a gift, but with what grace to share it.”
Sara Peppard, a senior in the Ophthalmic Medical Technology program, offered the student’s perspective on the value of a scholarship. Peppard, president of the college’s student council, received one of the Legacy scholarships that are funded through the sale of Legacy bricks, which are placed in the college’s courtyard.
Born and raised in Iran, Peppard now lives in Hot Springs with her husband and son.
“Scholarships are a very foreign concept where I come from,” she said. “But it is a very important gift that someone can give to help another person pursue their dreams and build their future.”
She added that she will never forget the generosity of those who have helped her obtain her education, calling it “the biggest gift I can ever get.”
Lauren Gibbert and Amanda Sowle, both of whom are in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, said their scholarships allow them to focus on their studies and not have to juggle school and a job.
Nicolis Russell, a senior in the Ophthalmic Medical Technology program, received the John P. Shock, M.D. Endowed Scholarship. Shock was the founding director of UAMS’ Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute and was instrumental in the creation of the Ophthalmic Medical Technology program.
“Words can’t really describe what it means to me to receive a scholarship in honor of Dr. Shock and for him to be present at the ceremony,” said Russell.
Sarah Nelson, a Medical Laboratory Sciences student who received three scholarships, said it was an honor to meet one of her donors, Janice Heflin, and express her gratitude. She said the scholarships are invaluable because her final semester in the program is all internships, which don’t really allow her the time to hold down a job.
Heflin, who lives in Arlington, Texas, was on hand for the first-ever presentation of the Jerry Michael Tuley Endowed Scholarship, in honor of her brother Jerry. Heflin described her brother as a “free spirit,” who spent a month in the hospital at the end of his life for a foot infection.
“I was so grateful for all of the care he received. I wanted to honor all of the allied health workers who cared for him,” she said.
Heflin said she was delighted to be at the ceremony and have the chance to meet Nelson.
“I am so proud. Sarah is wonderful – such a humble and lovely person,” she said. “I couldn’t be more pleased that she was selected to win the scholarship.”
Craig Gilliam, an alumnus of the medical laboratory sciences program and member of the college’s advisory board, said he remembers how much a small stipend from a teacher in his northeast Arkansas hometown helped him when he was attending college.
“That money meant that I didn’t have to work part time, and I’ve thought about that ever since,” he said. “She gave out of generosity and never expected anything in return.”
Gilliam, who is the director of Infection Prevention and Control at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, hopes to help students just like that teacher helped him. The Craig Gilliam Medical Laboratory Sciences Scholarship will be awarded for the first time next year.