The best-kept secret at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine was secret no longer when earlier in May the Class of 2017 presented Tarin Schmidt-Dalton, associate professor of family and community medicine and assistant dean for clinical science years 1 and 2, with a check for $10,000 to go toward the needs of the school’s clinical science curriculum.

A portion of the gift came from matching donations by three alumni from Virginia Tech who wanted to begin nurturing a spirit of philanthropy among the graduating medical students back to the university and Virginia Tech Carilion. The matching contributions were contingent upon 100 percent participation by class members in donating.

“The VTC School of Medicine Class of 2017 set a shining example with its 100 percent participation gift,” said Sid Smith, a member of the Class of 1963, professor of medicine in cardiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and chair of the medical school’s advisory group. Smith, along with Jay Foster (engineering  ’87, MBA ’97) and Ellen Beville (mathematics  ’71), made matching contributions. Smith, Foster, and Beville are all members of the Dean’s Advancement Advisory Council at the school of medicine.

Smith added that medical school is one of the most difficult times to give financially, as most students are burdened with debt from college and medical school and face additional years of training, and many students are starting families as well.

“The class gift and sacrifice sets an example for all who recognize the value that the VTC program brings to the people of Roanoke and beyond in education, research, and patient care. It is an honor and a pleasure for me to join these young physician thought leaders as they embark upon their careers,” Smith said.

“The Class of 2017 wanted to send a clear message of gratitude to our faculty and staff, especially Dr. Schmidt-Dalton,” said Class President Chris McLaughlin. “In her role, she works hard to equip students with the skills they need to thrive in the clerkship years, residency, and beyond. Our hope is that we started a tradition of making a meaningful senior gift at the end of students’ time at the medical school.”

The clinical skills domain utilizes a variety of teaching methods to prepare students for the clinical aspect of medicine, including opportunities for them to learn and practice with faculty and standardized patients.

“The Class of 2017 completely surprised me with their generous class gift to the clinical science department,” Schmidt-Dalton said. “Their 100 percent participation speaks to the value they place on our curriculum, school, and community. I feel honored to have been part of their journey over the past four years, and I am humbled to receive their investment in our future.”

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