$130,000 in scholarships given at Alumni Association Dinner

The importance of philanthropy reinforced by students’ gratitude

By Kristen O’Reilly

UMass Medical School Communications

September 23, 2011




    Named Scholarships
Jeanne Y. Curtis Scholarship
Alexander Christakis

George F. And Sybil H. Fuller Foundation Scholarship
Brian Skehan

Paul C. and Gladys W. Richards Foundation Scholarship
Lindsay Abcunas

Ruth and Saul Seder Scholarship
Kyle Rossi
Memorial Scholarships
Charles Gomes Memorial Scholarship
Jennifer Crombie

Linda Rafuse Goudey, MD, Memorial Scholarship
Shannon Demas

Neil Grover Memorial Scholarship
Mitchell Li

William and Steven Putterman Memorial Scholarship
Sarah Tracy

Paul Vernaglia Jr, MD, Memorial Scholarship
James Kennedy

  Alumni Association Scholarships
Achankeng Afiadata
Oksana Babchenko
Amanda Bernier
Jacquelyn Chambers
Shannon Demas
Matthew Dewolf
Malessa Dias
Nerissa Duchin
Joseph Frey
Amanda Gonsalves
Vanessa Hand
Liam Jette
James Kennedy
Stephanie LeBourdais
Mitchell Li
Stuart Murray
Melinda Palma
Kevin Pelland
Andrew Piper
Noah Rosenberg
Davin Watson
Sara Weiner
Lily Wong
Waldo Zamor


Twenty-four medical students received almost $100,000 in scholarships from the Alumni Association at a celebratory dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in the Faculty Conference Room. The scholarships were made possible by the generosity of School of Medicine alumni who contributed to the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund. In addition, nine other students received more than $36,000 in scholarships named in honor or remembrance of others. 

“The Alumni Scholarship Dinner celebrates those who have generously supported scholarships at the UMass Medical School and the outstanding students who benefit from this remarkable philanthropy,” said Irv Heifetz, MD ’79, president of the UMass Medical School Alumni Association.

In addition to remarks from Chancellor Michael F. Collins and School of Medicine Dean Terence R. Flotte, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medicine, executive deputy chancellor and provost, thealumni and friends in attendence heard reflections from five medical students who received awards: Lindsay Abcunas from the Class of 2012; Liam Jette and Melinda Palma from the Class of 2015, and Sara Weiner and Jim Kennedy from the Class of 2014.The students shared stories about how they chose to pursue medicine and why they decided on UMass Medical School, and thanked donors for allowing them to pursue their education.

Five scholarships were given in memory of alumni and friends, including the Linda Rafuse Goudey, MD, Memorial Scholarship, which was given to Shannon Demas. Dr. Goudey, a graduate of the Class of 1983, specialized in helping women with high risk-pregnancies. At the time of her death in 1993, her 2,000-patient practice was thriving. She treated her patients as family in a family atmosphere, with her mother, Marguerite Rafuse, working with her as the office manager. The scholarship in her memory was established by her mother, and is funded by the generosity of Goudey’s family, friends, classmates and former patients.

The Neil Grover Memorial Scholarship was given to Mitchell Li. Neil Grover, who was a member of the Class of 2001, began his career at UMMS in 1996 as a participant in the Summer Research Fellowship Program. In the words of Vice Provost for School Services Deborah Harmon Hines, PhD, “Neil quickly became somewhat of a nucleus around which the group evolved. Neil shared his passions and compassion, and left his imprint on the program, his fellow participants and me.” Dr. Grover died in 1998.

See the full impact of scholarships in this video.

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