Impact of Giving

These are the stories of the individuals and foundations who help advance Chicago medicine and science through their vision and philanthropy.

Donor Stories

Shaping the Future through Bequests

At the University of Chicago Medical Center, bequests are an important resource for the institution, accounting for 11 percent of gift income received each year. These gifts assist the University’s long-term planning efforts. Many satisfied alumni are among those who make such gifts to the University.

Like many students today, Clark Anderson, MD ’64, was uncertain how he would tackle a hefty medical school bill with minimal parental support when he was a medical student. “I worked my way through college and came close to abandoning plans for medical school because I could not imagine a source of funding,” he says. “I ended up taking out loans and maintained a very Spartan lifestyle. I even experimented with two meals a day.”

Now Professor Emeritus of Internal Medicine at Ohio State University, Anderson says it was those loans that helped him complete his education. “It’s now time for me to do my part in supporting the University,” he says.

His part was a bequest provision through his will for the Pritzker School of Medicine. “My bequest was prompted by my periodic revision of my will last year and by my realization that a decision about the distribution of my accumulated assets was in order,” Anderson says. “The current tough times seem not all that relevant, as the University of Chicago takes precedence—in my sense of values—over many other demands upon my giving.”

Foundation for Career Path
Like Anderson, Kenneth Bridbord, MD ’69, was also shaped by the University of Chicago, which prompted him to make a bequest to the University. “I was fortunate to have my medical education at the University of Chicago, which clearly formed the foundation for the rest of my career in medicine,” he says. “It really was a great advantage being at a place that cared so much for the students.”

Bridbord, director of the Division of International Training and Research for the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has had a distinguished career highlighted by his role in the initial federal health-based regulation to remove lead from gasoline.

In 1975, he was honored for this work with an Environmental Protection Agency Silver Medal. When he was a student, Bridbord says he never could have imagined being so involved with such an initiative, but acknowledges Chicago helped pave the way for this policy-oriented effort.

The 2009 alumni Distinguished Service Award recipient, Bridbord also received the NIH World AIDS Day award for his efforts to train other scientists in the global AIDS fight. The international program he established was the first of many programs designed to combat global health threats by partnerships between U.S. institutions and impoverished countries.

Ease of Giving
Author of One Man’s Century, Harold Laufman, MD ’37, realizes that he can’t save the world, but is happy to do his part in making a bequest to the University.

“I’ve found it painless to put a paragraph in my will that simply states the amount I plan to give,” he says. “And this is my thanks to the University. They paid my tuition by offering me scholarships throughout college and my medical school years. A person goes through his character-building years in college and the University of Chicago did a lot for me.”

At 97, Laufman is doing a lot for others through his book, which offers insight into how achievement can be reached in several different areas. Using himself as an example, Laufman shares how he excelled as an illustrator, bioengineer, and as a clinical surgeon, including a stint as a front-line surgeon in World War II.

“I found that despite the plethora of books on aging, there was nothing that focused on the experience of aging from the first person point of view,” he says. “People provide averages and statistics on aging, yet the exceptions are the most interesting.”

In his next book, which he hopes to release in two years, To Thrive After 95, Laufman will pay particularly close attention to the word “thrive” instead of “survive.” “It’s not about surviving,” he says. “People who survive can be bedridden or in a coma. Thriving is about making the most out of life.”

For more information about making a bequest, contact Jill Doherty at jdoherty@mcdmail.uchicago.edu.

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