A Path Well Lit
Last Summer, Class of 2016 graduate Carolina Giraldo’s summer fellowship—the Rackow & Kaminsky Endowed Fellowship for Pre-Health Students—took her to her hometown, Miami, where she gained certification as an emergency room technician and spent more than 100 externship hours with emergency personnel, much of it in the back of an ambulance.
One particular incident stands out. “We responded to a stroke alert,” she says. “As we’re taking the patient to the hospital, the EMTs are administering care, but they’re also in contact with the emergency room, getting instructions and relaying her vitals. When we hit the emergency room doors, there are nurses and technicians already with gloves and masks on, ready to go. Everybody had certain responsibilities, but everything was linked together. Everybody played their part, even me, and I hadn’t even been fully certified as an EMT. Now I’m not afraid to jump in and to help.”
Giraldo, a biochemistry major, is the latest student to complete the fellowship established more than a decade ago by F&M Trustee Dr. Eric C. Rackow ’67 and his wife, Dr. Sari J. Kaminsky. Rackow, an expert in critical care and health delivery, is president and chief executive officer of Humana at Home and a professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine. Kaminsky is chief of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Metropolitan Hospital in New York City and professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at New York Medical College.
In September, President Daniel R. Porterfield announced that the couple had made a $1 million gift, increasing the fellowship’s value and impact and establishing The Rackow & Kaminsky Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will provide need-based financial aid to outstanding students, especially those with demonstrated interest in the sciences and pre-health professions. The first scholarship recipients will enter F&M in fall 2017.
“Internships, independent research and community service are very important for students who want to go into medicine, nursing, public health, and related fields,” Rackow says. “Medical schools increasingly are emphasizing an applicant’s ability to apply knowledge and work independently.” A committee, coordinated by the director of health professions advising, selects fellowship recipients annually.
Giraldo’s fellowship gave her confidence and helped clarify her plans for the future. Originally unsure whether to enter a doctoral program in the sciences or pursue her medical degree, she plans to start medical school in fall 2017.
“I’ve loved biology since high school, and when I took my first chemistry class at F&M, I loved that, too,” Giraldo says. “I was considering medicine as a career, but one thing that intimidated me was that I thought a doctor was someone who had to know everything, had to make all the decisions. My fellowship showed me that isn’t true. There’s a whole team of professionals working with patients, exchanging information, discussing options. I saw the entire spectrum of patient care and how medical professionals work together.”
Giraldo sat next to Rackow at a luncheon following the announcement of his recent gift. “I met him for the first time; to be able to thank him personally was an honor,” she says. “He cares so deeply about this College and its students, especially those in the health professions.”
Giraldo speaks highly of F&M’s academics but says her love for the College comes from its supportive spirit. “I was born in Colombia, but we moved to Miami when I was 7. My father had a job in Colombia where he handled a lot of money, and there was a lot of political unrest there. Government officials found his name on a target list and we had to move for our safety. He went through a lot just to become a U.S. citizen. He came with me to visit F&M, and he was always my biggest fan. So when my father suddenly died a week before my first year here ended, it was very tough for me.”
“I grieved for a long time, basically all through my sophomore and junior years,” she continues. “But I had tremendous support. I’m studying now with my future much more clearly in mind.
“I used to keep thinking, ‘If only I could have saved him…’ but now I realize that if I can save someone else’s father or mother or child and prevent that family from suffering the grief I went through, that’s really important. That’s what I want to spend my life doing.”
As for where she’ll start that journey, Giraldo is set on her hometown. “I’m taking a gap year before I go to medical school,” she says. “It’s an opportunity for me. I would like to work as an emergency-room technician in Miami, plus I want to do some medical research. Eventually, I would love to be a doctor there. I’ve lived in Miami for more than a decade, but there were places we went during my fellowship that I had never seen. So many people need help. Even in a place like Miami Beach, which people think is only populated with rich people and tourists, there is an underbelly of poverty and need, where people live in extended care facilities with no family to support them. I’m ready to be one of those people who helps them and cares for them.”
In Fall 2012, F&M became the third institution—and the first liberal arts college—to partner with the Posse Foundation in enrolling annual cohorts of 10 full-scholarship students, with demonstrated talent and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. STEM Posse students come from communities historically underrepresented in these areas of study.
The first cohort of STEM Posse students, from Miami, graduated May 7, bound for medical schools, excellent graduate programs and top corporations; one of the graduates was accepted to Teach For America.
“These students are an inspiration,” says Kenneth R. Hess, Ph.D., chemistry professor and chair of the chemistry department, and faculty mentor to the STEM Posse students. “They have talent, they have drive, and thanks to a fantastic partner in the Posse Foundation, they have had the opportunity to flourish at a top national liberal arts college. This is a wonderful testimony to the power of philanthropy in higher education.”
The Posse Foundation partners with 38 colleges and universities, including F&M, to identify students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential and steer them to institutions committed to undergraduate success.
Then, about a year before the students start college, the foundation mentors the scholars in supportive, multicultural teams called “posses.” The students are also mentored at the colleges they attend.
During their time at F&M, the first STEM Posse cohort consistently outperformed the student body at large academically.
In a 2014 appearance at a White House Summit on Higher Education, President Daniel Porterfield noted of the group, “These students now are thriving. Our first cohort of STEM scholars from Miami has a collective GPA that is substantially above the overall class average, and they bring with them an array of gifts that benefit our entire campus community.”
“You don’t have to be a graduate of F&M to berelated to F&M,” says Arthur “Art” Clark Jr., a man who is not, in fact, a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College.
His ties to the College go back to his father, Arthur R. Clark, Ph.D., ’34, Willig Pentathlon Prize in Chemistry winner, varsity soccer player and Phi Beta Kappa member. Arthur Sr.’s bond with the College was strong. Like most students, his time at F&M gave him an education that helped propel him to success, though he gained far more than a degree.
While Arthur Sr. was a sophomore at F&M, tragedy struck. The loss of his father, a minister, was devastating, and it would have been easy and understandable for Clark to get off track. Without a father to support him, tuition became impossible to pay. The College’s response, however, was support.
Clark remembers his father saying that without the College’s help, he never could have afforded to continue attending F&M. It was with that generosity in mind that the Clark family decided to say thank you.
“In my mind, if Franklin & Marshall had not done what they did for my father, I wouldn’t have what I have,” explains Clark.
After graduating from F&M in 1934, Arthur Sr. earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Penn State University. He founded and led Foxlyn, Inc., a chemical manufacturing facility; there he invented Pinolene, a pesticide extender used in agriculture.
After serving as a captain in the armed forces, Clark went into business with Arthur Sr. at Foxlyn until it was sold in 1996. Clark Jr. feels strongly that without that early support from the College, his whole family wouldn’t have what they have today. “The foundation that F&M gave him in chemistry and all around education set the stage for what our family was able to do,” he says.
Before Arthur Sr. passed away in 2002, Clark mentioned that he wanted to include the College in his future philanthropy. His father said, “Take care of the family first, but then give back to the places that matter.”
With that in mind, Clark created the Arthur R. Clark, Ph.D., ’34 and Margaret M. Clark Endowed Scholarship Fund, which provides need-based student financial aid and is a fitting tribute to both his late father and mother and the generosity that F&M had shown his family decades before.
But he didn’t stop there. Clark has since created five additional endowed scholarships: the Clark Financial Aid Fund; a fund in honor of his daughter, Courtenay Weller; and three separate funds in honor of his three grandchildren, Sadie Mae, Mason and Emma. All six of these scholarships will be established by the remainder of charitable-gift annuities, with the purpose of providing need-based financial aid for full-time F&M students.
Clark and his daughter Courtenay hope their family’s connection to the College will continue to deepen even further over the years, as all three grandchildren are eager to follow in their great-grandfather’s footsteps.
“I have great hopes for them to become graduates,”says Clark. He hopes that his grandchildren will follow his lead as well. “I think having the scholarships in their names will give them the idea to give back at the proper time.”
“I need $65 to apply to F&M, and it’s the only place I’m applying to.”
Alexandra (“Allie”) Morey ’15 was unequivocal, and five years later, John Morey still recalls the enthusiasm with which his daughter made her decision to apply to Franklin & Marshall. A visit to campus and a meeting with F&M Head Field Hockey Coach Melissa (“Missy”) Mariano sealed the deal.
Allie’s enthusiasm proved infectious. John and his wife, Carla, involved themselves closely with F&M, supporting the Franklin & Marshall Fund, serving on the Parents Council, and recently creating the Diplomat Field Hockey Endowed Fund.
The endowment, the first to fund the operating expenses of a women’s sport at the College, will support field hockey: uniforms, team travel, leadership development programming, technology, and more.
“We have been fortunate to build a nationally competitive field hockey program here at F&M,” says F&M Head Field Hockey Coach Missy Mariano. “The Moreys’ generous gift will enhance our ability to give our student-athletes the best possible experience within Division III field hockey.”
That experience yields some compelling outcomes. A 2014 survey by EY Women Athletes Business Network and espnW quantified the link between women’s participation in athletics and professional achievements; a majority of the “C-suite” women surveyed participated in collegiate athletics and credited in part their sports’ discipline and competitiveness for their success (94 percent participated in athletics at some point in their lives).
Other studies have linked young women’s athletics participation to better academic performance, reduced cancer risk, and increased confidence, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. For the Moreys, it’s about excellence and the liberal arts.
“At F&M, student-athletes enjoy the cross-section typical of liberal arts education: great academic experience, great social experience, and great extracurricular experience. All of those things really matter to us,” says John.
Allie, now working in communications for the Boston Bruins, graduated in May 2015. She majored in English and participated in .08, Alpha Delta Pi, and the Life After College Success Program.
“It’s not as if Allie went there for four years and now we’re done,” says John. “Franklin & Marshall is a wonderful place. We hope others will contribute to the fund, and we’ll do the same in the future.”
Mariano adds, “The Moreys have been such a wonderful part of the F&M community and we are lucky to have them as a part of the Diplomat Field Hockey family.”