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Alumni Aid Helps Departments Tackle Shortages

Alumni Aid Helps Departments Tackle Shortages

As a national shortfall heightens the need for clinical laboratory scientists, Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences in the School of Allied Health Professions is heeding the call with a plan to produce more graduates each year.

At VCU, the CLS department produces 25 to 35 B.S. graduates and up to 10 M.S. graduates each year. CLS graduates are snapped up ? nearly 100 percent are employed within six months.

The department launched its CLS Challenge at its 85th anniversary celebration in April 2012 to achieve two goals: raise money for an endowed professorship that will help attract and retain top educators and seek donor support for scholarships and the ever-increasing expense of laboratory equipment and supplies needed to educate students.

"The professorship will allow us to recruit and retain high-quality faculty and to honor faculty that have made significant accomplishments in the field," said department Chair Teresa Nadder, Ph.D. (B.S.'78; M.S.'89; Ph.D.'98). "We would need several large gifts to make the professorship a reality."

Seed money for an endowed professorship was gifted by the late Mary Catherine Dowrick (B.S.'69; M.S.'72). She bequeathed nearly $45,000 to the CLS department upon her death in 2010.

Dowrick's friend of 17 years, Barbara Williams (B.S.'86), said Dowrick was passionate about giving back and wanted to support organizations that helped her succeed, including VCU.

"She loved going to school at VCU," Williams said. "She had a professor who took her under his wing and mentored her, and that really changed her life."

Dowrick would be honored that the department chose to use her bequest to endow a professorship, Williams said. Endowments typically help fund an existing faculty member's salary, which frees up money for student scholarships and other critical initiatives.

published November 2013

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