Thomas M. Gary Medical Student Scholarship
The Thomas M. Gary Medical Student Scholarship Fund was established in 2007 by Thomas M. Gary (1958 B.A., 1961 M.D.), to provide assistance to medical students and to recognize the sacrifices that students make to become physicians.
Born in 1935, Tom Gary grew up in Denison, Iowa, one of four boys raised by their mother, a widowed registered nurse who worked in a physician’s office. He would wait for her in the clinic after school until her work was done. He saw how much her employer, Dr. Fee, enjoyed his work as a family practice doctor and surgeon, and by fourth grade, Tom decided that he, too, wanted to be a doctor.
Money was scarce for the Gary family, so Tom began to save for college and medical school as soon as he started to work. During high school, he found work driving an ambulance for a funeral home, running errands, and apprenticing with a furniture upholsterer, among other things. Later, when Tom was pursuing his studies at the University of Iowa (both for pre-med and medical school), he worked—and lived—in an Iowa City funeral home. The owners’ son had graduated from the UI College of Medicine, and they were very supportive of other students.
During medical school, Tom worked on a research project with a UI neurosurgery professor and physician who later arranged a surgical externship for Tom with a neurosurgeon in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area. Between operations, Tom was available to assist other surgeons and perform additional medical procedures as needed—and it was here that he delivered his first baby. When the newborn wiggled and let out its first cry, Tom was “hooked for life” on the wonderful feeling of family practice. His neurosurgery mentor at the UI was disappointed, but understood that Tom had found his calling, so they remained friends as they completed the research project, and as Tom went on to complete his education. He received his M.D. degree from the UI in 1961.
The University of Iowa offers you an unparalleled opportunity for a quality education, clinical experiences, and research. Dr. Gary appreciates that the University of Iowa experience helped make his life and career fulfilling, and that he has many people to thank for his education. Now, as you enjoy your Iowa experience, he wants to remind you that you do not make your journey alone. You are accompanied by all who support, encourage, and reassure you. They—and you—will know if you seized the moment.
Congratulations on receiving the Thomas M. Gary Medical Student Scholarship