The HippocratesChallenge

Students in lab

If a generous anonymous donor’s vision is realized, the biggest beneficiary will be Sewanee students who are preparing for careers in the health professions. That donor has made a challenge gift of $500,000 and is urging current health professionals as a group to match the challenge gift with three dollars for every dollar of the gift. Once the challenge is met,  a $2 million endowment will be in place to raise the capacity of pre-health education at Sewanee in perpetuity. Not only that, the donor has pledged whatever it takes to cover the cost of the new program while the endowment is being raised.

This new initiative will help Sewanee develop leadership in pre-health advising and preparation through great internships and research assistantships that provide research and clinical experience, training programs that prepare students for high-stakes tests, and one-on-one mentoring for students hoping to enter a variety of health professions.
The director of pre-health programs is Alyssa Summers, assistant professor of biology. Summers earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Vanderbilt University and has been instrumental in developing V-SURE (the Vanderbilt-Sewanee Undergraduate Research Experience), a summer program that combines clinical and research experiences.

“The addition of the Hippocrates Challenge really adds on to significant work we have done in the past 18 months in supporting pre-health,” said Robert Black, director of major gifts. “With gifts to establish V-SURE and this donor’s anonymous gift, we have added almost $800,000 to endowment recently to support pre-health students. A successful challenge campaign is going to add significant value to programs that are already making a significant difference for students interested in the health professions.”

Gifts to the Challenge will be any gift of endowment directed to the Pre-Health Program. Individuals can either contribute directly to the Hippocrates Endowment or may establish another named endowment with a minimum gift of $120,000 for a pre-health internship. Some of the naming opportunities include the following:

Naming Opportunities

  • Name the overall program: $2 million
  • Endow the pre-health director’s position: $1 million
  • Endow a pre-health training program (MCAT, etc.): $600,000
  • Endow the Hippocrates Fellows Program (a pipeline recruiting honors program): $500,000
  • Endow a pre-health internship: $120,000

Gift commitments can include multi-year pledges, monthly checking and credit card gifts, gifts of stock, and more. For more information on the program or ways to give, please contact Terri Williams, director of development, by email at or by phone  at 931.598.1128.

“We are confident that our alumni will respond positively to this challenge and help us develop a flagship program that will help our students move into lives of achievement in the health professions” said Williams.