Volunteering at a local burn unit inspired Misael Garcia to seek a career as a physician assistant. Always interested in medicine, Brittany Nino chose podiatric medicine for its surgical opportunities and work-life balance; she also has embraced leadership and research opportunities. Jesse Dalton’s undergraduate volunteer experiences in serving homeless people ignited his goal of becoming a highly compassionate osteopathic physician.
These three DMU students are among many who’ve benefited from the Glanton Fund, which supports scholarships for minority students and diversity initiatives that help educate all students at the University. As in previous years, the Des Moines community came out to support the fund at the 14th annual Glanton Dinner on Oct. 5.
The event raised an additional $391,411 for the endowed fund, which stands at more than $3 million. This year’s total represents leadership gifts from several generous sponsors, including UnityPoint Health – Des Moines as the presenting sponsor; Prairie Meadows as the dinner sponsor; and John and Mary Pappajohn as longtime Diamond-level sponsors.
“Our mission includes helping students develop heightened cultural competency, which equips them to serve individuals and families from various backgrounds with understanding and respect,” DMU President and CEO Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., said. “Our diverse society needs this competency more than ever. Developing that competency is where your support matters most.”
This year’s dinner was in part bittersweet. Willie Stevenson Glanton, J.D., who with her late husband, Luther Glanton Jr., inspired DMU to establish the Glanton Fund with their public service, advocacy for civil rights and service as longtime DMU trustees. She died on July 6, 2017.
“The Glantons had a passion for helping others be successful and, most importantly, they firmly believed in our success as minority students at Des Moines University,” Alex Stein told the audience. “It is one thing to know that your family and friends support you in your professional aspirations, but to have the support of distinguished individuals and the community of Des Moines is truly a blessing.”
During the Glanton Dinner, the University honors a community member for working to create opportunities for others. This year’s Glanton honorees were Rich and Kim Willis, who have been leaders in numerous charitable and community causes and have been generous supporters of the Glanton Dinner and Glanton Fund for more than a decade.
Also recognized at the dinner were Dr. Mary and Suku Radia, Diamond-level Glanton Dinner sponsors. They recently became members of the DMU Founders Society with their latest leadership gift designated to the Glanton Fund. A 1981 DMU osteopathic medical graduate, Mary is a rheumatologist with the Iowa Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center in Urbandale, IA, and a member of the DMU Board of Trustees; Suku is president and CEO of Bankers Trust in Des Moines.