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School of Medicine Greenville

Donor Scholar Dinner celebrates scholar students and donors

The USC School of Medicine Greenville held its annual Donor Scholar Dinner Feb. 16. The event celebrates scholar students, who receive generous scholarships, and the donors and donor families whose support has a transformative effect on their medical-school experience. A room full of medical students, donors and supporters of SOMG attended the event, held at Avenue, in downtown Greenville. 

It was a special evening for medical students to reflect on their journey, their future plans, and above all, to pay homage to those supporters who helped them achieve their dreams.  

For Chase Rathfoot, an M4 student and the Mrs. Irene M. Bikulege Memorial Scholar, it has been a long road, but a journey in which she “can finally see the other end of it.”

The Mrs. Irene M. Bikulege Memorial Scholarship made her aspirations to become a neurologist possible. “The pathway to medicine is so hard, emotionally, physically, and financially, and having the support of a donor family has been instrumental in my success and the success of some of my peers,” said Rathfoot.

In high school, Rathfoot planned to be a scientist or perhaps a therapist. Then during her senior year of high school, Rathfoot lost her mom to a stroke. She changed her career plans to study pre-med. “It changed my entire perspective on the pathway through medicine but also my pathway through life,” she said. Rathfoot ultimately entered medical school at School of Medicine Greenville. 

“Over the past four years I spent two of them studying the foundations of science, I finally passed two board exams, and eventually I applied for residency in neurology — to one day care for patients who suffer from strokes, just like my mom,” said Rathfoot. “And I couldn’t have done all of this without the support of my donor family. 

“The support of donors means so much more than financial security, it means the chance to pursue our passions, and I am so incredibly thankful to pursue the passion that will let me one day interact with patients,” she said.  

The annual event, held on Thursday, Feb. 16, marked the first time it was held in person after a two-year pause. Due to COVID precautions, the donor scholar dinner was canceled in 2021, and the event was held virtually in 2022. 

Dean Marjorie Jenkins addressed students and donors. 

Jenkins said she is consistently impressed with students’ brilliance, their passion, their compassions, their talent, their resilience and their strength. “When I look around this room and I see your faces you know what I see, I see the future,” Jenkins said. 

Dean Jenkins thanked supporters. “Those of you who have committed to students, you are changing their lives, and you are impacting every patient they take care of in perpetuity.” 

It is an exciting moment in time at SOMG, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year. “As we enter our second decade, we are going to keep educating the best doctors in the nation,” Jenkins said. “We are going to create the leaders of tomorrow. We are going to serve our community. We are going to partner with Prisma Health. And we are going to create a better state of health for South Carolina. 

“We are going to dig in deeply into research that matters, real problems for real people right now.” Jenkins said, “That is what this school is going to do, that’s what our residents are going to do, that’s what our physicians are going to do, and our scientists and our students. They are going to find out the answers of tomorrow.”

School of Medicine Greenville has already started working on these goals. 

Thank you to our generous donors and supporters, from some of our scholar students:

“The Jolley Foundation has given me an opportunity that even in my wildest dreams I would have never dreamt of. I am so fortunate and grateful to pursue medicine with so much support. I hope to uphold the Jolley Foundation’s mission to be a helping hand for my community and those around me.”

James E. Jolley Scholarship

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time and training at USCSOMG. I am truly blessed to be a student at a great school and it wouldn't be possible without my wonderful scholarship donor, Dr. John Gilpin. Not only has he been extremely generous in his gift to me, but he has also become a friend and a mentor as well and I am better for knowing him!" 

John Witherspoon Gilpin, MD Scholarship

"I am incredibly grateful to the school and my donor for supporting me financially in my journey to becoming a physician. Without this support I wouldn't be able to attend my dream medical school!" 

Prisma Health Scholarship

“Ever since I was young, I have wanted to become a doctor and serve others. As a Greenville native, I also knew that I wanted to stay close to home and give back to this community that I love. When SOMG opened its doors in 2012, twelve-year-old me made it her dream to attend medical school here. Now, exactly ten years later, here I am! In this case, reality is even better than the dream.”

Daniel Mickel Scholarship

“I am truly grateful for the continuation of support along my medical journey. I appreciate every contributor who has helped me thus far. The advocacy from USC SOMG and receiving the Levi S. Kirkland Society scholarship created the foundation for building and obtaining my career goals. This scholarship will only push me to sharpen my capabilities as a future physician and most importantly, to be a great representative of the communities I will serve.”

BlueCross BlueShield SC Foundation Levi S. Kirkland Sr., MD Scholarship

“This scholarship has impacted me and my family in many ways. I am a mother to a beautiful 2-year-old, and I have the privilege to be able to be the kind of woman that she can look up to one day. This scholarship has alleviated the huge financial burden that comes with medical school and given me the freedom to focus on training to be the best doctor I can be for my future patients. “

BlueCross BlueShield SC Foundation Levi S. Kirkland Sr., MD Scholarship

"The Martha Ann and Hugh Clarke scholarship has allowed me to focus more on my education without worrying about the financial burden of tuition."

Martha Ann and Hugh Clarke Scholarship


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