MSM Surprises Class of 2017 with Gift of More Than $647,000 to Help Lower Debt


On Saturday, May 20, 2017, 111 graduates received their degrees from Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), along with two special gifts. Words of wisdom from U.S. Representative John Lewis and a special surprise from MSM President and Dean Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice.

“To assist in lowering the student indebtedness, MSM will award additional scholarships totaling $647,596 to graduating students,” announced Dr. Montgomery Rice to the shocked audience. “Each eligible graduating senior not receiving full MSM funding for tuition and fees will receive not less than $5,000 that will be applied to reduce their medical school debt.”

A total of 95 MSM graduates will receive the financial reward. The remaining 16 previously received scholarships for full tuition and fees.

The additional scholarship funds are a result of increased philanthropic participation by current and new donors.  

The cost of medical school in the United States typically totals more than $200,000 according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. This scholarship announced during commencement will help the MSM graduates pay down their debts and free them to pursue practice where they desire. Places much like where commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient U.S. 5th District Congressman John Lewis grew up.

Lewis told the graduating class about how as a boy growing up in rural Alabama; preventive care was not an option.

“Even if it did exist, my family could not afford it,” said Lewis. “Medicine was just not an option for us. Our pre-existing condition was poverty and hunger.”

“I believe in my heart that access to affordable care is a right and not a privilege. We all need healthcare,” the congressman said of health care access in the current day.

MSM’s Class of 2017 includes 57 M.D. and 11 Ph.D. recipients. Another 41 graduates received their master's degree in fields including public health, medical science and clinical research. Of those granted the Doctor of Medicine degree, 100 percent were successfully placed in residency programs. The Master of Public Health also saw strong success with nearly three-quarters of the graduating class either receiving job offers or acceptance to graduate programs at the time of graduation.

The Class of 2017 will now go on to provide healthcare or work to ensure health equity for people across the nation.

“Wherever you see someone who needs help, lend them a helping hand,” urged the congressman of the graduates as he closed his speech. “Do your best and do it so well that no one else can do it any better.”


About Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM)
Founded in 1975, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) is among the nation's leading educators of primary care physicians, biomedical scientists and public health professionals. In 2011, MSM was recognized by Annals of Internal Medicine as the nation’s No. 1 medical school in fulfilling a social mission. MSM faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care.

Morehouse School of Medicine is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master's degrees. To learn more about programs and donate today, please visit or call 404-752-1500.