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May 2009 Issue

Kenneth Davis, MD, professor of surgery, and his wife, Johnie, recently gave $10,000 in seed money to create The Oxley Fund, an endowed fund within the Marilyn Gaston Scholars Program at the UC College of Medicine.
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Surgery Professor's Gift Helps Secure Future of Minority Medical Students

By Angela Koenig
Published May 2009

When you sit on the College of Medicine admissions committee, you get to see the best and brightest candidates looking to UC as their first choice for medical school.


You also get to see them walk away due to lack of financial means, says UC professor of surgery Kenneth Davis, MD, who along with his wife, Johnie, recently provided $10,000 in seed money for The Oxley Fund, named for Lucy Oxley, the first African-American to earn a medical degree at UC in 1935.


The Oxley Fund is an endowment fund within the Marilyn Hughes Gaston Scholars Program at the College of Medicine. The Gaston Scholars Program was established in 1999 to provide scholarships for admitted students at the College of Medicine who come from groups that traditionally have been underrepresented in the community of physicians and who have expressed an interest in practicing in a location that traditionally has been medically underserved. 


“What I’ve seen is a lot of students who liked it here … they liked the supportive environment and the atmosphere, but chose not to attend because they got financial aid someplace else,” says Davis, who has served on the admissions committee at least a dozen times during his 25 years at UC.


“We wanted to do more than just talk about it,” he says of the decision he and Johnie made to originate the scholarship and rally support for it to become an endowed scholarship, meaning funds are generated by the interest on the principal.


Johnie says their call to action came because: “People aren’t fully aware of the cost of a medical education these days. Graduating with a lot of debt can determine where and how a person practices; and if we want to increase the numbers of underrepresented medical professionals in underserved communities, we must be willing to help alleviate that financial burden.”


According to UC Foundation development director Dawn Perrin, who worked with the Davises to establish the fund, UC fails to matriculate about two-thirds of African-American applicants each year who have been admitted due to the lack of scholarship support.


“Dr. and Mrs. Davis are to be commended for their leadership in looking to change this disparity,” says Perrin.


To learn more about the fund, call Perrin at (513) 558-2304 or e-mail To make a gift to UC and support your area of interest, visit the UC Foundation campaign Web site at or call (513) 556-6781. 

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