Glanton Dinner brings people together to celebrate diversity

Donors to DMU’s Glanton Fund benefit students and society by increasing diversity in health professions.

adrian-simien Adrian Simien’s life is an extraordinary tale of seemingly insurmountable odds, sheer determination and the importance of the support of others at critical times.

The fourth-year DMU osteopathic medical student shared his story at this year’s Glanton Dinner on Oct. 6: Growing up in Compton, CA, where gang and drug violence prevailed, he and his 12 siblings faced fear and poverty on a daily basis. By his early 20s, he was living on his own in a car. A basketball scholarship led him to MIssouri Baptist University in St. Louis, but financial hardships forced him to drop out.

Finally, tired of failing, Simien became “fearless.” He gritted his way through his undergraduate biology degree program, graduating with academic honors and acceptance into DMU. He is the recipient of a scholarship of the Glanton Fund, which supports DMU students under-represented in health care as well as initiatives that prepare all students to serve patients in our increasingly diverse world. Its annual dinner is a major fundraiser for the endowed fund and this year generated $267,124.75.

DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, right, accepts this year's gifts to the Glanton Fund from Glanton Committee members and DMU trustees Renee Hardman, left, and Marcia Hammers
DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, right, accepts this year’s gifts to the Glanton Fund from Glanton Committee members and DMU trustees Renee Hardman, left, and Marcia Hammers

“I sincerely want to thank each and every donor to the Glanton Scholarship,” he said. “I will be the physician who never should have been. I will be the physician who can relate to my patients with similar backgrounds so that I can take care of them.”

The Glanton Dinner also allows the University to honor individuals who have opened doors for others. The 2016 Glanton honorees played a critical role in DMU’s very existence. In 1898, Des Moines real estate magnate Frederick M. Hubbell, founder of Equitable Life Insurance Co. of Iowa, supported the osteopathic practice act, which encouraged the founding of an osteopathic school in Iowa. In 1905, Frederick C. Hubbell – son of Frederick M. – and others formed a new corporation, Still College of Osteopathy, that helped the school acquire buildings and equipment.

Hubbell family members again helped the institution in 1911 amid financial and administrative problems. The school again reorganized with stronger finances and leadership in place.

Siblings Mike, Fred, Rusty and Jim Hubbell with President Franklin
Siblings Mike, Fred, Rusty and Jim Hubbell with President Franklin

“Des Moines University thanks the city of Des Moines and the Hubbell family,” says DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D. “Its members were among the community leaders who supported our institution with critical support that helped make possible our survival, success and the stellar reputation we have today.”

Hubbell family members have benefited numerous other entities in central Iowa, such as the Des Moines Art Center, Civic Center, Greater Des Moines Community Foundation, Iowa Methodist Hospital/UnityPoint and United Way, to name a few. In 1971 the family donated its longtime Des Moines home, Terrace Hill, to the state; it now is the governor’s residence. In addition, Hubbell Realty Co., which grew from Frederick M. Hubbell’s real estate work beginning in the 1860s, continues to shape and enhance the community as Des Moines’ real estate leader.

A like-minded presenting sponsor Wellmark

Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, which provides health coverage to more than two million people in Iowa and South Dakota, shares DMU’s values of diversity and inclusion. That’s one reason Wellmark was the presenting sponsor of this year’s Glanton Dinner.

“Combining diversity with inclusion is essential to reaching our potential as a company,” says John Forsyth, Wellmark chair and CEO. “We are proud to be able to support minority students and collaborate with organizations like Des Moines University to enrich their experiences. We hope our support will help these amazing students continue to succeed in health care.”

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