Alumnus Launches Medical School Scholarship Fund with 100K gift

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Dr. Marque Allen, a Texas podiatric surgeon and team physician to the San Antonio Spurs, starts scholarship fund to honor former professor.Watch the video >>>

Dr. Marque Allen was so excited to learn his alma mater is partnering with Cooper University Hospital to create a medical school that he contacted Rowan with an offer and a challenge.

The offer - a $100,000 gift - is to launch a medical school scholarship in honor of his mentor, retired Rowan Professor Richard Meagher. And the challenge, which Rowan readily accepted, was a commitment to growing that fund by seeking other donations.

Dr. Allen, a 1991 alumnus who grew up in Lindenwold and Glassboro but lives and practices in Texas, said both he and his wife, San Antonio businesswoman Yvette Allen, attended state colleges and believe in their promise of opportunity.

"We are products of state school systems and, I'm here to tell you, they work," Dr. Allen said during a campus visit November 25. "This gift is a ‘Thank You' to Dr. Meagher and the university. There must be hundreds of people like me who've gone here who now have careers in medicine thanks (in part) to Dick Meagher."

Dr. Allen, who said he was anything but a high achiever in high school but graduated from then-Glassboro State College with a nearly perfect grade point average, was so inspired by Dr. Meagher that he decided the fund a scholarship in his name. Dr. Meagher retired in 2007 after 38 years as a Rowan University biological sciences professor.

Through the Allens' gift, the Dr. Richard Meagher Medical Scholarship will fund one student's medical education for four years. The inaugural class of students at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden is expected to begin in 2012 with as many as 50 first-year students.

Rowan University President Dr. Donald Farish said he hopes the Allens' gift will inspire others - alumni and non-alumni alike - to contribute to the scholarship fund. The goal, Dr. Farish said, is to provide scholarships to every member of the inaugural medical school class just as Rowan did with its first class of engineering students in 2000.

"Thanks to Dr. Marque Allen and his wife Yvette we are one down, 49 to go," Dr. Farish said.

He said Dr. Allen, as an undergraduate, benefited from a public institution supported by the people of New Jersey and they, in turn, now benefit from him as he helps fund a medical school in the southern part of the state.

Building on a tradition of giving

In 1992, one year after Dr. Allen graduated from Glassboro State, industrialist Henry Rowan and his wife Betty pledged $100 million to the institution, the largest gift ever to a public college or university until that time. That generosity inspired Dr. Allen to give too and he hopes his gift inspires others.

"I believe there is a common misconception that large donors are privileged and thus they can give," said Allen. "I can assure you my story is as simple as it gets. I want the common person to identify with me and maybe this will move him or her to pledge to the university."

After graduating from G.S.C., Dr. Allen earned his degree in podiatric medicine from Temple University. He completed his internship at the University of Pennsylvania and his residency in Foot and Ankle surgery in the Thomas Jefferson University Health System. His formal training was completed as a fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Today, in addition to his own practice, Dr. Allen serves as the foot and ankle consultant/team physician for the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars, the AHL's San Antonio Rampage, the University of Texas-San Antonio, Trinity University, and multiple high schools throughout south Texas.

The Cooper Medical School of Rowan University will be South Jersey's first four-year allopathic medical school and the state's first new medical school in more than 30 years.

Rowan plans to build a $100-million medical school building in Camden, expanding Cooper University Hospital's medical sciences campus and serving as a new economic engine for the city.

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