In the first announced gift honoring UCF President John C. Hitt, who is stepping down in June 2018, the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation has donated $100,000 to support Grand Rounds at the College of Medicine. Grand Rounds are a ritual of medical education, where physicians and students gather to discuss unusual cases and treatments.
The Dr. John C. and Martha Hitt Grand Rounds Endowment will support Grand Rounds at the medical school and other community locations until the new UCF Lake Nona Medical Center opens in 2020. With the gift, Edyth Bush has now donated $1 million to UCF.
Foundation President David A. Odahowski said a Grand Rounds gift is an appropriate way to honor Dr. Hitt, UCF's president for nearly 26 years, and the College of Medicine, which the president has called one of his biggest accomplishments. "I can think of no other leader who has made more of a difference in our community over such a length of time as John Hitt supported by his wife Martha," Odahowski said. "Grand Rounds are an opportunity to share knowledge and are part of the tradition of a medical school and a teaching hospital. We thought this was a fitting gift to recognize all that the President and Mrs. Hitt have done."
The foundation has been a generous supporter of UCF and its medical school. Founded in 1973, the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation provided its first grant to the university the following year, awarding $60,000 for the construction and equipping of a child care center on UCF's main campus. In 2007, the foundation donated $160,000 to fund a full four-year scholarship to cover tuition and living expenses for a student in the medical school's charter class. This gift was made in memory of Dr. Russell W. Ramsey, who was the personal physician to Mrs. Edyth Bush. Thanks to donations like Edyth Bush's, the UCF was the first medical school in U.S. history to offer full scholarships to an entire class.
Edyth Bush has also donated funds to help M.D. students conduct and present original research. UCF's College of Medicine is one of the few schools nationally that requires all students to complete a two-year research project on a topic about which they are passionate.
Dr. Deborah German, UCF vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the College of Medicine, said she was thrilled with the gift.
"Grand rounds are a centerpiece learning experience for medical students, residents, faculty and all healthcare providers," she said. "To have our first endowed grand rounds named for Dr. and Mrs. Hitt and generously given by the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation is a dean's delight."
In its history, the foundation has awarded more than 3,833 grants to 872 organizations, primarily in Central Florida, totaling more than $110 million. Its most recent contributions have centered on Medical City, which Odahowski said is creating "a new era of diversity of Central Florida's economy." He said he hoped the Grand Rounds gift will encourage other foundations and groups to contribute to UCF's current Ignite campaign.
"President Hitt made UCF the Partnership University®," Odahowski said. "Philanthropy is a partnership between those who have the resources and those who have the ideas and needs."
For more information on the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, please visit www.edythbush.org.