The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Endowed Scholarship Funds
Launching Careers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center's School of Health Sciences
Endowed scholarship funds offer students the means to focus on classroom and clinical practice requirements in eight allied health sciences programs at the School of Health Sciences at M. D. Anderson.
In June of 1975, Lance Dell arrived at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center for a unique educational opportunity. Selected for a prestigious summer program designed to introduce students to career possibilities in biomedical research, he had the good fortune to be assigned to the laboratory of the program's director, Michael J. Ahearn, Ph.D., then an assistant professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine.
The young Dell embarked on a research project under Ahearn's guidance, and the ensuing weeks were full of "aha" moments-not the least of which was discovering a strong personal desire to pursue a career in medicine. Little did he know that almost three decades later he would establish a scholarship fund to help others do the same.
Today Dell is a radiologist in Albuquerque, N.M., and Ahearn is dean of M. D. Anderson's School of Health Sciences. Neither has forgotten the bonds forged in the summer of '75. Several years ago Dell established an emergency loan fund for students at the School of Health Sciences. In 2004, as yet another way of repaying the generosity of his mentor, he established the Dell Family Scholarship Fund for the School of Health Sciences.
"When I graduated from high school, I knew I was interested in science, but after that summer with Dr. Ahearn it became clear to me that medicine was what I wanted to do," says Dell. "Establishing the scholarship fund was a great opportunity to pay back the many kindnesses he'd shown me and the opportunities he'd given me."
The Dell Family Scholarship Fund for the School of Health Sciences was among the first of its kind at the School of Health Sciences, which achieved degree-granting status in 2000 and offers programs in eight allied health fields: clinical laboratory science, cytogenetic technology, cytotechnology, histotechnology, medical dosimetry, molecular genetics technology, radiation therapy and diagnostic imaging. The fund provides annual $1,000 scholarships, awarded on the basis of financial need, academic achievement, leadership ability and professional goals.
"Thank goodness for people like Lance Dell and his family," says Ahearn. "The long-term impact of philanthropic scholarship funds is enormous. Each affects hundreds of people's lives for years to come. For the independent student, it means greatly needed financial assistance that covers a significant portion of tuition fees and thereby frees time and energy to devote to classroom and clinical practice requirements. For the profession, it helps produce specialists who are critically needed in the face of a serious shortage throughout the health care industry nationwide."
Scholarship funds also give the school an edge in today's highly competitive climate for student recruiting. More established schools have twice as many scholarships to offer, says Ahearn, and that makes a "huge difference" in attracting students. To date, the generosity of Dell, wife Becky and family has made 13 scholarships available for students in various disciplines.
"As the School of Health Sciences grows, there are more students with more needs," says Dell, who enjoys meeting the scholarship recipients each year and keeping in touch as they progress toward graduation. "I've been very blessed in this world, and I want to help other people achieve their goals. Hopefully the scholarship fund is something our three children can continue as they develop their passion for giving."