By Rebecca Budde
Dr. Margaret Wilson, a retired pediatrician, knows firsthand of the financial struggles of medical students.
“I remember what it was like to struggle with money while trying to complete medical school,” she said. “Scholarships for medical school are sorely lacking, even now.”
While cost of tuition at SIU School of Medicine remains one of the most affordable among public universities, medical students graduate with some of the highest debt – more than $210,000 on average – according to Erik Constance, MD, associate dean of medical student affairs.
“Scholarships are imperative for fulfilling our mission of sending well-trained providers in our central and southern Illinois communities,” Dr. Constance said.
To help future generations of female physicians, Margaret established a scholarship for female medical students at SIU. Her hope is that this scholarship will help make life a little less worrisome for the student and her family.
“These students have families, and they’re graduating from medical school with these huge debts,” she said.
While his wife’s generosity was bestowed on the medical students, Dr. Charles Wilson, a retired professor in SIU’s Division of Urology, wanted his gift to impact the work of his chosen specialty.
The SIU School of Medicine’s Founders Urology Care Scholars Program will support new investigators’ research and educational projects that benefit patients with urologic diseases. The funding will be used for basic, translational or clinical research in urologic diseases. The endowment is open to any donors who wish to support urologic research.
As Drs. Margaret and Charles Wilson enjoy their retirement, their son, Morgan Wilson, MD, ’05, is enjoying his career at SIU Medicine’s Division of Dermatology. Not only has Morgan generously supported the scholarship his mother began, but he also supports the Student Resource Fund and the SIU Dermatology Alumni Fund.
“I have enjoyed seeing the educational yield of the SIU Dermatology Alumni Fund, which helps to offset the costs of books, meetings, courses and equipment for our dermatology residency program,” Morgan said. “It is fun to witness the consequent learning.”
Though the Jacksonville-based couple and their son chose different medical specialties and different areas to give, all agree that they’d like to help support the mission of the medical school and keep quality physicians in Illinois.
“I’ve always appreciated and benefited from the SIU School of Medicine’s commitment to educational quality, and I’d like to support the continuation of this emphasis,” Morgan said. “As a native of the area, I also believe in the mission of educating physicians who will consider coming back to downstate Illinois.”