NMC Commentary

Does NMC Provide Scholarships to Local Students?

Yes! Northwestern Medical Center has a long history of providing scholarships to local students entering collegiate health career studies. Our scholarship program dates back to the 1987 and was renamed in 2003 as “The Martin H. Wennar, MD, Health Education Fund” in honor of a retired, and now deceased, general surgeon who was one of the original founders and strongest financial supporters of the scholarship program. This year, we will be giving out three $2,000 scholarships to outstanding local students.

Each year, I am impressed and inspired by the young people in our community who receive these scholarships. Not only do they demonstrate academic excellence, they also show involvement in their schools and volunteerism in their community.  They already have a passion for caring for others and a deep desire to make a difference. Over the years, these recipients have gone on to become nurses, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, radiology technologists, and other healthcare professionals. These recipients have come from all of our local high schools and some have gone on to work here in our community!  This year, we received 25 applications from outstanding local candidates.  We are fortunate to have a 5-member selection committee who share the challenge of selecting the recipients from such a talented pool in a blinded process – so the application evaluators do not know the identity of the students they are reviewing and selecting until after the process is complete.

I also reflect on lasting the impact the passion, dedication, and generosity of an individual can have. Dr. Wennar opened his general surgery practice in St. Albans, VT in 1976 and worked full time until his retirement in 2002. During that time, he introduced gastrointestinal endoscopy and minimally invasive surgery to NMC, was active in championing formalized quality improvement initiatives, and taught at the UVM Medical School. Dr. Wennar was deeply involved in his community, coaching Little League and serving as a member of many boards including Bellows Free Academy and Peoples Trust Company Board. His legacy lives on in part through his generosity to the scholarship fund and it is a fitting tribute that the Health Education Fund at NMC was re-named in his honor.

Our endowed education fund benefits from the proceeds of our annual Health Professions Scholarship dinner and the generosity of our community, our hospital staff, and our medical staff.  In particular, I would like to thank our event sponsors for this year, Suncrest Health Care Communities and Dickinson & Branon Dental Care. I would love to have you join us at this year’s event, set for the evening of Wednesday, May 23 at the wonderful Tyler Place Family Resort in Highgate Springs. The Tyler Place is such a unique and beautiful setting for this event, adding a true flair to the evening’s festivities.  Over the years, this popular event has featured speakers who have included Vermont governors, college presidents, Vermont’s first female Adjutant General of the National Guard, physicians, coaches, and local leaders. We are pleased to have the Executive Director of Franklin County Home Health Agency, Janet McCarthy, as this year’s featured speaker for the scholarship dinner.  In addition to the strong and long-term leadership which Janet brings to her organization, she serves on NMC’s Board of Directors and Chairs the Unified Community Collaborative here in northwestern Vermont. I look forward to Janet’s remarks at this year’s event.

Would you like to join us for dinner and an evening of inspiration while helping support the next generation of care givers from our community?  Tickets for the scholarship dinner are $60 per person and available through NMC’s Director of Development, Jeff Moreau, who can be reached at [email protected] or (802) 524-8467.  I know you will be as impressed with the recipients as I am.  Please join us!

— Jill Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer