Dean's Update 2023-03

March 29, 2023

Student financial support provides opportunities

Being focused on students doesn’t only mean educating them to be future physicians and PAs and providing research and clinical opportunities; it also means supporting them through their entire medical school experience here with the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM). That support comes in many ways, including financial support.

As many of you know, we recently gathered at the Michigan Osteopathic College Foundation (MOCF) Ball. Established by osteopathic physicians in the state of Michigan more than 60 years ago to support medical students in their education to become a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.), the MOCF created the MOCF endowment, which continues to be supported and grown at our college and through our MOCF fundraising events. This year’s MOCF endowment fundraising efforts brought in $462,500. That is amazing and will benefit our students – our future physicians.

We appreciate our longtime sponsors and donors, as well as the MOCF board, for their investments in our students.

As a result of these combined efforts through the years, the current market value of the College of Osteopathic Medicine MOCF endowment alone is more than $15 million and is one of the largest endowments focused on student scholarships at MSU. Thank you to all who helped to build this endowment, which also supports international clinical experiences, research activities and, most importantly, student scholarships.

In addition to the MOCF, we have many other endowments and scholarships that support our work. During the past academic year alone, more than $504,000 of investment income was available for student supported educational opportunities. In the 2022-2023 academic year, $305,000 was gifted in student scholarships and an additional $22,000 for student research projects – from over 40 scholarships. Students may apply through an application process, and a scholarship committee determines the final number of awards and amounts.

We are all aware that student debt after graduation is a tremendous burden, and one we are trying to address head on here at MSUCOM, so I’ve asked Chris Surian, director of development for the college, to join me in this Dean’s Update to talk a little more about our philanthropy efforts that are primarily focused on student scholarship support.

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The support the many endowments and endowed scholarship funds provide is the ability to assist students in their journey to become physicians and allows our students to focus on their passions, Surian explained. The current market value of all MSUCOM endowments and scholarships is approaching $50 million.

“We use these funds strategically and to be impactful,” Surian explained. “If there is a student who is talented and meets the scholarship criteria – from rural area, urban area, etc. – sometimes we can package scholarships together and offer a significant award to a student.”

And that can change lives and outcomes.

Surian recalls a previous MSUCOM student who was committed to osteopathic medicine principles after being treated by a D.O. while growing up. “Her dream was to be a rural physician in family medicine with a specialty in sports medicine,” Surian said. “She had top scores, but as the debt load in medical school became larger, she thought about becoming an orthopedic surgeon and work in a more suburban area.

“We found scholarships and she was able to become a rural physician and follow her passion.”

These scholarships also provide opportunities for other learning experiences, from research to international experiences to participating in the college’s three Street Care/Street Medicine programs by covering the costs of those programs. “We don’t want our students to spend more to have these experiences,” Surian said. “Endowments and scholarships are key to attracting a talented, diverse student body and students can make decisions based on their passion and interests instead of financial considerations.”

MSUCOM provides support to many first-generation medical students and medical students who want to stay in Michigan to help set them up for success, so they can do the great work of physicians. “We attract great physicians – more than 70% stay here in Michigan and 50% go into primary care,” Surian said.

Endowed professorships are also important as the college serves students in today’s competitive world. “They allow us to attract and keep the best and the brightest students and serve as a catalyst for post-graduate students who want to study with some of these talented faculty and researchers, as well as attracting associate or assistant professors who want to work with these people,” Surian explained.

This is the legacy that endowments provide. An endowment grows over time; it’s invested and available in perpetuity, and funds can be added in perpetuity, which means the gift and impact will be here for years to come.

“Many endowments have grown four- to five-fold since they were established by the donor,” Surian said, adding, “MSU currently uses about 4.5% of the endowment’s market value, averaged over several previous quarters, for the spending account each year. This policy is to ensure long-term growth for these funds.”


As you can see, these gifts can help a student attend medical school and participate in great programs, as well as help us to attract the best and brightest in students and faculty. I appreciate all the work the MSUCOM team puts into our philanthropy programs, and I want to thank all of you who have supported the college, our students and our faculty over the years with these impactful gifts. The future looks bright!

Dean Andrea Amalfitano, D.O., Ph.D.

Chris Surian
Director of Development