Fifteen years ago, a small group of community members met to discuss how they could open opportunities and foster diversity at Des Moines University. They established a fund at DMU that would generate scholarships for minority students under-represented in health care professions and also support initiatives to enhance the cultural competency of all students.
Since then, the Glanton Fund – named in honor of the late Des Moines civil rights leaders Willie Stevenson Glanton, J.D., and Luther Glanton Jr., J.D. – has grown to nearly $3 million and has provided more than $2 million in scholarship funds. Those numbers will only continue to grow. The annual Glanton Dinner on Oct. 25, presented this year by Mercy Medical Center–Des Moines, raised an additional $388,099 for the endowed fund.
“Please know you all have played an important role in preparing an exceptional health care workforce for today and years to come,” DMU President and CEO Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., told the 440 dinner attendees at the Meadows Events and Conference Center, Altoona, IA. “Our shared legacy will endure.”
Representing that legacy at the dinner were Mohamad Hassan, a student in DMU’s doctor of physical therapy program, and his wife, Sondos Masoud, a student in its physician assistant program. Speaking at the dinner, they described the University’s multicultural programs that equip students to provide compassionate health care, and they also shared personal insights.
“Sometimes our biases and perceptions toward others are superficially based on appearance. As a Muslim woman who wears a hijab, I know how this feels,” Sondos said. “In fact, Mohamad and I were nervous about moving to Des Moines because we both grew up in much more diverse communities in Chicago. However, the DMU community has only been welcoming to us since the day we each interviewed. Being part of our supportive, inclusive campus helped me realize I had been too focused on myself as being different. Yes, we all have our differences, but we can also recognize the things we share.”
During the Glanton Dinner, the University honors community members for working to create opportunities for others. This year’s Glanton honorees were John and Mary Pappajohn, who were recognized for their philanthropy in Iowa and beyond as well as their support of DMU for nearly two decades. They have invested in the Glanton Fund since its inception.
“John and Mary valued the importance of equal opportunity in health care education and became a passionate team as advocates for the Glanton Fund,” President Franklin said. “Their confidence in the Glanton mission has been so strong, that 15 years later they are still among the most active supporters, helping to influence the future of health care and health sciences education.”
Mark your calendar now for the 16th annual Glanton Dinner, presented by Bankers Trust, that will occur on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, at the Meadows Events and Conference Center, Altoona, IA.