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May 2003 Issue

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Medical School Scholarship Fund Named in Honor of IvaDean Lair-Adolph

Published May 2003

Generations of medical students at UC have one thing in common, a woman who has worked in the Dean's Office for over 40 years making sure "her kids" were taken care of as they studied to become physicians. IvaDean Lair-Adolph is now an assistant dean in the College of Medicine, but students still go to her office to raid the cookie jar between classes. They still go to IvaDean when they need to change their clerkship schedules. They still rely on IvaDean when they apply for residency or want to make sure they will complete their graduation requirements on time. Most importantly, students still turn to IvaDean when they need advice or just a friend to listen to their concerns. About the only thing IvaDean hasn't been able to do for thousands of medical students is pay their tuition. But that may soon change.

Prompted by students in the Class of 2003, who decided to use their class gift to start a scholarship fund in honor of IvaDean, the College has instituted the lvaDean Medical Stu-dent Scholarship Fund as a major fund-raising activity.

"Our goal is to raise $100,000 a year for the next five years," says Dr. Laura Wexler, associate dean of Student Affairs and Admissions. Scholarships for medical students have become an essential part of maintaining the prestige and mission of the College of Medicine. To attract applications from the best students in Ohio and out of state, UC faces competition from other medical schools and must keep the debt level of its graduates manageable.

Dr. Wexler adds, "A key to attracting and retaining academically and personally outstanding students is to be able to offer scholarship aid. The recruitment of superior students is as important as the recruitment of superior faculty. In recent years, we have not kept pace with the other schools in Ohio in the number and size of the scholarships we can offer. We hope this scholarship fund in honor of IvaDean will change that."

The College of Medicine wants to maintain its competitive edge. It also wants to assist students with the increasing challenge of financing a medical education. The mountain of debt (the average debt of graduates reached $100,000 in 2002) facing medical students can be overwhelming and may make some hesitant to enter fields that require long residencies or to pursue fellowship training. This is a loss for the students and for society. "We want our students to have the full range of opportunities in medicine available to them," says Dr. Wexler.

William Martin II, MD, dean of the College of Medicine, agrees. "One of my top priorities is to recruit highly motivated, academically gifted students to the College of Medicine," says Dr. Martin. "We want a student body that can take full advantage of the outstanding clinical and research training available here and become leaders in their fields."

When students in this year's senior class started thinking about their class gift, IvaDean came quickly to mind. "She is the person who has contribut-ed the most to making medical school bearable for us!" wrote Jen Ernst and Bill Knight, co-chairs of the class. After discussion with Dr. Wexler, they realized a scholarship named in honor of IvaDean was the perfect way to thank her for support of medical students.

IvaDean began working in the Dean's Office immediately after graduating from high school. She started her career processing admission applications. Over time she assumed more responsibilities, eventually becoming the registrar as well as handling financial aid and planning graduation. As the complexity of Student Affairs increased, more people joined the Dean's Office staff, but lvaDean has retained her essential function as "the person to go to" whenever students need help. She has seen over 6,000 students grad-uate, and remembers most by name.

IvaDean's contributions to the operation of the College of Medicine were recognized in 1994 when she was named assistant dean of Student Affairs and Medical Records. She has had a profound influence on medical students as an advisor, advocate, and confidant. She has shared many special moments, including marriages and childbirths, in the lives of her students. And, of course, she is always present to help them celebrate their achievements at Match Day and graduation. While lvaDean has found great personal happiness in her marriage to Dr. Robert Adolph, former chief of cardiology and emeritus professor of medicine, she is not ready to join him in retirement. She still gets to her office every day at 7 a.m., and seldom leaves before 6 p.m. Indeed, IvaDean says she expects to be "bronzed in my desk chair."

Ever the advocate of the College of Medicine, IvaDean adds, "We want our grads to remember us with a warm fuzzy feeling because if they feel that way, they will certainly encourage their children to think about attending the UC College of Medicine." The IvaDean Medical Student Scholarship Fund provides a fitting opportunity for every graduate who has been helped by this amazing woman to thank her and to help ensure a strong future for the College of Medicine.

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