September 26, 2018
The glow of 75 candles on a birthday cake may shine bright, but retired Greenville Health System cardiologist Ed Lominack learned at his surprise birthday party recently that he’d actually been kept in the dark for more than a year on yet another surprise.
The surprise? A $1 million scholarship to the University of South Carolina (USC) School of Medicine Greenville was announced in his honor. The Lominack Family Scholarship will be initially awarded to a medical student entering medical school in 2020. The gift, which was announced at his birthday celebration, honors Lominack’s nearly 50 years of devoted practice in cardiology, his profound influence shaping the lives and careers of hundreds of medical professionals and his significant contributions to the Upstate and Greenville Health System (GHS).
"I am so relieved that tonight is finally here even though I admittedly broke one of our solemn vows of no surprise birthday parties," said his wife, Almena "Sister" Lominack. “But what better way to confirm Ed’s and my belief and optimism in the future of medicine than to say to a deserving young student, ‘Come to the USC School of Medicine Greenville, embrace the profession and accept our gift.’”
Forty-four years before the veteran cardiologist’s name would become synonymous for the continuing education of future physicians, Ed Lominack was a young doctor who moved to Greenville with his wife to repair hearts and raise their three growing boys. He graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina with cardiology training at Emory University and London’s Hammersmith Hospital.
“I know what Ed's parents sacrificed so that he could finish medical school with no debt and the costs today so greatly outweigh the means for many students," said Mrs. Lominack. "Students who would make extraordinary doctors may simply not be able to afford the cost of med school and so choose another career. We want to help bridge that gap and give back, following the example of so many other members in our local medical community who’ve likewise given back.”
“This gives us an opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ and mentor a young person who has the passion and desire to serve others in the medical field,” said Dr. Lominack. “It was a memorable birthday for me.”
This scholarship will help the USC School of Medicine Greenville be even more attractive to the most competitive medical students and ensure that future physicians train – and stay – in the Upstate, said his family.
At the celebration, the Lominacks thanked their three sons, Robert, David, and Andrew, their spouses, seven grandchildren and their extended family of siblings and spouses with additional thanks to all the friends and colleagues who helped make the birthday surprise possible.
The USC School of Medicine Greenville, a joint effort between USC and GHS, received more than 3,700 applications for only 100 spots for the Class of 2022. USC and GHS recognized the need for scholarship support during the initial planning for the Greenville medical school, committing in perpetuity 10 percent of tuition dollars to support scholarships. But that 10 percent set-aside provides only half of the scholarship dollars necessary to remain adequately competitive, thus requiring a private or community match.
Approximately $20 million has been committed or given in scholarship support since the Greenville medical school launched its charter class in 2012. Of this, $14 million is endowed, making the school a little over one-quarter of the way toward its goal of a $50 million scholarship endowment.
Said the medical school’s founding dean, Jerry Youkey, MD., “We are blessed to have such strong community support from people like Ed and Sister Lominack who are stepping forward to support medical student scholarship in the hopes of strengthening the physician base in South Carolina and improving the health of our citizens. It is truly an investment in the well-being of our children and our grandchildren.”
“Community support has been essential since GHS opened in 1912 and continues to be even more important 106 years later,” said Youkey.
Hailed as a “different school of thought,” the school’s vision is to create a type of physician capable of leading and participating in the transformation of America’s
healthcare delivery system. Students at the Greenville medical school receive clinical training across all four years of medical school, breaking from traditional curriculums that have two years of lecture followed by two years of clinical training. The innovative curriculum has drawn national attention for fostering student engagement in community based health problems and in prevention and wellness through activities associated with lifestyle medicine.